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Oil on canvas
36" x 96" x 3.5" (91 x 244 x 9 cm)
Original artwork signed by the artist.
About This Artwork
The artwork Taïga aims to capture the imagination of the Northern wilderness, the mythical seventeenth century boreal forest where venturing Metis and trappers sourced their pelts, offering an overabundance of wildlife: beavers and bears, raccoons and hares whose furs, prized by French settlers were bartered with Amerindians for the joy of fashionable Europeans.
As I kept hearing of news about Montreal’s upcoming 375th anniversary of its foundation, this brought childhood memories of my father, proudly showing me from his rare books collection the original travels of Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain and Pierre-Esprit Radisson.
Upon reading passages of their adventures in which they described in their own words the accounts of their explorations, I kept imagining our founders and pioneers navigating the St. Lawrence River for the first time: setting foot on a strange foreign land, discovering and exploring these immense untouched forests, teeming with wild animals, extending endlessly all the way up to the North; a century later, explorers, fur traders and coureurs des bois like Radisson, canoeing along the fur trade route from Tadoussac along the Saguenay River and up to the Hudson Bay.
I sought to recreate with this piece the sheer density of the forest by merging together multiple representations of the mythical boreal forest that would change according to the viewing angles and relative distance. By making abstraction of any clearly defined form, this immersive artwork aims to appeal directly to the observer’s own personal experience and desire to explore this lush nature, allowing the imagination to fill in the blanks and fully grasp the general impact conveyed by the piece as a whole.
When directly observed from its sides, the prominent heavy texture takes the appearance of bark and massive tree trunks where mushrooms, mosses and lichens grow symbiotically; when seen from a certain distance, the composition morphs into a coniferous evergreen carpeting, acting like a large window leading onto the Taiga.
Its unique heavy texture was made by sculpting through thick layers of oil paint with a palette knife: pushing, pulling and tearing up the layers in a controlled gesture to build up the relief up to an inch thick and shaping features into organic patterns, giving the artwork a peculiar tactile quality that appeals to all senses.
Using only pure oil paint without any other medium, gel of filler results in a living artwork that breathes and evolves with time: its appearance changing with the ambient light, cyclically obscuring certain details to better highlight others, will be subtly morphing with the seasons as would the boreal forest.