News

Transparence et distorsion (2016)

Noir d’ivoire et blanc de titane – Transparence et distorsion

Acrylic paint and gesso on acrylic panels

Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal, from April 16 to May 28, 2016
Anna Leonowens Gallery, NSCAD University, Halifax, from November 17 to 28, 2015

Each piece is created on a very thin sheet of Plexiglas painted on one side before being bent into three sections through thermoforming. Two sections are painted in flat black tints, giving them a mirror-like quality, or in white, which reflects light. The third section is clear and covered in a pattern of translucent dots that seem to break away from the surface, producing the illusion of movement and depth. The folding of the two panels on either side of the central one produces a complex interplay of reflections between the three sections, while the concave shape it creates captures light and multiplies the effect of transparency or distortion within the cluster of dots. The choice of Plexiglas has deepened my research into the materiality of colour and light. The painting’s presentation in the gallery allows viewers to experience their near-sculptural nature as they extend into the exhibition space, and to witness how dramatically their appearance shifts depending on the angle of view.

All my gratitude to the Joseph Plaskett Foundation, the Triangle Arts Association, NSCAD University and the Robert Pope Foundation, who supported the development of this new project. My warmest thanks to my skilful and reliable studio assistants, Katie Lesser and Arkadi Lavoie Lachapelle, as well as Donald Thompson, Martin Schop and Atelier Clark, who helped resolve many technical challenges.

Photos: Guy L’Heureux

Tableaux grand format (2015)

Noir d’ivoire et blanc de titane – Tableaux grand format

Acrylic paint and gesso on acrylic panel

Galerie des Étables, Bordeaux, France, from December 11, 2014 to January 24, 2015

Choosing to paint exclusively in black and white represented a devious challenge: borrow a constraint from optical painters I admire while using opposite pictorial processes. Therefore, instead of deliberately painting colour patterns, I allowed matter itself to (de)form them. In my most recent project, I used thin flexible plexiglass panels. With my assistant’s help, I covered these supports with fresh paint and manipulated them in order to induce a displacement of liquid paint. The pattern of dots and trails that is generated by this process traces contradictory movements within the painting.

Thanks to: Centre Clark (Montreal) and the wonderful team at Zébra3 (Bordeaux) for being so welcoming and supportive. Above all, special thanks to Amélie Boileux for her invaluable contribution to this project.

Photos: Jean-Christophe Garcia.

Noir d'ivoire et blanc de titane (2014)

Noir d’ivoire et blanc de titane

Acrylic paint and gesso on MDF, mounted on Baltic birch plywood

Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal, from January 23 to March 9, 2014

This series of paintings was created using ivory black and titanium white pigments that were diluted with a great quantity of acrylic medium in order to make them translucent. Stimulated by the challenge arising from this constraint, I sought to let an intense visual depth emerge, beyond the simplicity of grayscale. The superposition of a fine coat of liquid color on black or white panels allows the emergence, through transparency, of very peculiar shades of black, brown and gray. A dotted pattern with trails reflects the displacement of paint on a flexible support that was curved. The result is a corpus of works that is both simple and complex, optical and material, controlled and unpredictable.

Thanks to: Darling Foundry and Astérides.

Photos: Martin Désilets.

Noir de fumée et blanc de titane (2013)

Noir de fumée et blanc de titane

Acrylic paint and gesso on Baltic birch plywood

Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal, from November 9 to December 14, 2013
L’imagier, Gatineau, from January 17 to March 9, 2014
Galerie Colline, Edmundston, New Brunswick, from September 13 to October 20, 2013

These paintings were created using exclusively lampblack and titanium white pigments. The pure colors were simply diluted with a great quantity of gloss acrylic medium. By varying their degree of transparency and opacity, I was surprised to see a wide array of grays, with hints of color ranging from blue to brown, appear. Every series was created using a dripping process, which induces a predictable yet unique pattern. I used the various combinations of a color range limited to three shades of black and three shades of white, paying attention to the moments where a unified surface takes shape, while still hinting at the underlying layers below.

Thanks to: Est-Nord-Est artist residency and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Photos: Éliane Excoffier and Martin Désilets.

CMYK - Phase 2 (2012)

CMYK – Phase 2

Acrylic paint, gesso and screen printing ink on Baltic birch plywood

Optica, Montreal, from May 12 to June 16, 2012

Two series of paintings coexist and mingle in the gallery space. The Ellipses en transit are painted drop by drop like the paintings from phase 1, but part of the circular support is left exposed. From one painting to the other, I varied the color order (YCM, CMY, MCY, and so on). The illusions of depth or torsion that appear in the painted ellipse are contradicted by the marked presence of the wooden support, creating a spatial tension. The Flaques are made from a superposition of CMY or CMYK paint drops, of which I altered the transparency. A hint of white paint is often added to the mixture, changing the color tone from light to dark and its materiality from transparent to translucent.

Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts.

Photos: Richard-Max Tremblay.

CMYK - Phase 1 (2011)

CMYK – Phase 1

Acrylic paint and screen printing ink on Baltic birch plywood

Maison de la culture Maisonneuve, Montreal, from December 2, 2011 to January 8, 2012
Parisian Laundry, “Collision 8”, Montreal, from March 2 to 17, 2012

I restricted my palette to the four colors of print: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (known as the acronym CMYK). Paintings are made following a fairly straightforward process: liquid paint is poured drop by drop according to a controlled dripping method. As the paint is being poured, I observe the physical and optical mix of pure colors. For the Tondos CMY en déplacement series, the size of the support varies, but the painted concentric pattern keeps the same diameter. This creates an impression of cropping, which leads to an illusion of volume on some paintings. The Ellipses series shows nine possible variations of CMYK colors. Taken together, those paintings appear as if cut from a virtual pictorial space that would stretch beyond their limit. The two series are hung by aligning the centers of the painted patterns.

Thanks to: Fonds de recherche société et culture du Québec.

Artwork photos: Richard-Max Tremblay. Exhibition views: Julie Trudel.

rgb(127, 28, 174) [...] – Tondos (2010)

rgb(127, 28, 174) rgb(238, 238, 0) rgb(229, 229, 229) – Phase 2: Tondos

Acrylic paint on Baltic birch plywood

L’art passe à l’Est, “Liaisons insolites”, Montreal, from February 27 to March 18, 2010
Art Mûr, “Peintures fraîches et nouvelle construction”, Montreal, from July 15 to August 21, 2010

Using liquid acrylic paint, I prepared a chaotic mix of three colors (pink, gray, yellow) that I poured drop by drop in a spiral pattern following the edge of the painting. The drops coalesce to create a smooth surface where color varies randomly according to the proportion of colors being used or the way paint is mixed. The regular pattern is set in motion by color. The appearance of the paintings may remind weaving, some effects obtained with image processing software, as well as optical art.

Thanks to: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Photos: Catherine Tremblay.

rgb(127, 28, 174) [...] (2009)

rgb(127, 28, 174) rgb(238, 238, 0) rgb(229, 229, 229) – Phase 1

Acrylic paint on canvas, acrylic paint on wood, graphite on paper

CDEX, “Etats des lieux #3”, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, from December 14 to 17, 2009

I became interested in the rgb color space, able to translate the infinity of digital color to a binary code. I arbitrarily picked three colors (pink, yellow, gray) in a web color chart. They became the starting point to a series of experimentations in the studio. I transcribed those codes in drawings, which I then folded and traced. Some of the drawings thus created were reproduced on paintings on which I added liquid paint poured in simple patterns (stripes or grids) that intertwined when the painting was tilted. With the leftover paint, I created other paintings in which unpredictable patterns and colors are related to the process used to pour the paint.

Thanks to: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Exhibition views: Laurent Lamarche. Artwork photos: Julie Trudel.

RGB (2009)

RGB

Acrylic paint on canvas

Le Chat des artistes, “Du pain et des jeux”, Montreal, from March 13 to 28, 2009

On this series of paintings, digits are painted in relief and impede the flow of liquid paint. Their location partly determines the overall composition, which is otherwise dictated by the randomness of flow. The color palette used evokes both digital images and optical art.

  • Publication: Côté, Mario et al., Du pain et des jeux, Éditions de l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’UQAM, Montreal, 2009, 32 p.

Photos: Catherine Tremblay (except the first one: Mario Côté).