Gallery Jones is pleased to present The River Flows, a solo exhibition of recent
work by the celebrated Canadian painter Yehouda Chaki.
The sweeping landscapes of the exhibition reveal Chaki’s masterful use of colour, and
his ability to capture the natural world without quelling its potential.
Yehouda Chaki was born in Athens, Greece in 1938 to a Jewish family and
grew up in Israel. He trained in the European tradition of studio painting in Tel
Aviv and then at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1963, Chaki immigrated
to Montréal where he has lived and worked since. His critically-acclaimed
aesthetic walks the line between realism and abstraction, exuding a vitality and
passion that points back to the personality of the artist himself.
The River Flows presents curving and colourful landscapes of trees, hills, valleys, and
water⎯harmonious as a whole yet wild in their detailing. A warm palette of oil paint
outlines the contours of the earth, becoming playfully abstract at the painting’s edges (as
they would in the viewer’s focus). The force and application of each brushstroke betrays
emotion; in the same painting we detect calm dabs of colour and passionate sweeping
gestures. Brightly embellished with sensory information, the works speak of a subjective
experience of the natural world that connects to the deepest self.
By resisting visual definition, Chaki’s works invite the viewer to imagine the scene
without edges. But recently, paintings like Don Quijote (2017) and Across the River
(2017) demonstrate a new freedom of expression in their use of geometric abstraction.
This resurfacing motif hearkens back to Chaki’s early career⎯particularly the
“Construction” series of the early 1970’s⎯connecting the artist’s latest work to some of
his earliest investigations into colour and shape.
Yehouda Chaki’s work can be found in over fifty public collections and institutions
internationally, including Canadian embassies and consulates, the Montréal Museum of
Fine Arts, the Royal Bank of Canada Collection, Musée de Toulon, France, and
Jerusalem City Hall, Israel, among others. Chaki was head of the Painting and Drawing
programs at the Saidye Bronfman Centre from 1967–1989.