The Thompson Landry Gallery is excited to present New Works: Étienne Gélinas & Sylvain Coulombe, running from March 22nd – April 8th, 2018 in the Stone Distillery Gallery. This exhibition will feature a juxtaposition of Étienne Gélinas’ abstracted canvases, which explore the visual duality of structure and emotion, and Sylvain Coulombe
s thought-provoking, emotionally charged compositions, which explore metaphor through humanist figurative paintings. In this new series of works, each artist takes a unique approach to communicating their thoughts and ideas about the human condition. The explicit use of allegory in both artists works elicits an unexpected dialogue about how we envision our place in the world.
Étienne Gélinas has an easily identifiable style that visually juxtaposes order and chaos, focusing on the ambiguity of codes and language systems in a semiotic space. Combining sewing patterns, photos of gearing systems, architectural plans, and dripping paint, Gélinas’ works are an expression of harmony between the logical left and creative right side of the human brain. His work comments on the overall loss of individuality in our society: “My research in painting is based on the opposition of different codes: I strive to make the pictorial and scientific worlds coexist in a single space. This is my way of denouncing society as an overly-structured and conformist environment, bound by protocol and in which the notion of intuition and tailored case by case approaches have lost their place. The extremely rigid protocols of our social systems tend to hide the individual within the mass, refusing to perceive him as a unique and sensible being.”
s artistic process is exact in its execution and spontaneous in its inspiration. Incisions are placed and attached to the artists primary supports via a thick paste to create dynamic angles. These elements are layered in varying transparencies throughout his work, with the glossy and glazed surface areas evoking the notion of the screen, a comment on how society and the artist alike perceive icons and still images. The work of Étienne Gélinas incorporates
both oil and acrylic paint, as well as charcoal, marker and his characteristic mechanical plans which are sealed with a museum-quality oil resin. In this new series of work, Gélinas has been pushing the boundaries of three-dimensional and architectural depth, and has made his collages more dynamic through the use of liquid matter and fluid color.
Sylvain Coulombe’s style is also unmistakable. The artist utilizes metaphor as a means of communicating thoughts, ideas, and emotions; his additive and subtractive style provides a glimpse into a surreal and evolving universe of characters. The gaze and expression of his subjects invite viewers on a journey of curiosity, as they unpack the complexity of their emotions and experiences. For Coulombe, a single sphere can symbolize a thought, worry or hope, while a horizon line can symbolize a new opportunity, obstacle or chance to be taken. Despite the intended emotional narrative embedded in his work, Coloumbe likes to leave his works open ended, allowing viewers to draw meaning from their own subjective experiences.
Coulombe expresses all facets of human emotional expression in his artwork. Every story is supported by his use of color, line and form, and in the process, the works change due to these components. The artist establishes a dialogue with his characters by hanging all of his “in progress “works on the wall of his home. Through this process, his portraits slowly reveal their stories as he continues to work and rework them until completion: “The piece will tell me when it is finished”.
While Coulombe’s works are strictly figurative, he begins the creative process by building up abstracted layers of paint: “I always start with an abstract background. I then sit back and take a long hard look at the canvas until I discern a portrait emerging from it. Thereafter the painting indicates the natural course of its development.” This technique acts as a palimpsest, as Coulombe “[paints] over what preceded” to “formulate a new, coherent vision”. There is an apparent push and pull between the organic and ordered, which is evident in Coulombe’s refinement of organic abstractions into sculpted figurations.
New Works: Étienne Gélinas & Sylvain Coulombe is a bridge between two contrasting and dynamic artists. In facilitating the passage of ideas, this showcase will encapsulate how different genres of art create balance between the free-form impulse of the artist and their premeditated methodologies, all the while speaking to both Gélinas`s and Coulombe penchant for communicating through coded, symbolic language.