OPENING RECEPTION: October 9th, 6:00 – 9:00pm – Artist in attendance
On October 9th, 2013 the Thompson Landry Gallery proudly welcomes back Yoakim Bélanger for his second solo exhibition, From Abstract to Abstract, a dramatic exploration of the human spirit on oxidized metallic surfaces. Through these 30 new paintings, Bélanger explores the limit between abstraction and reality in his expression of the human form. Not only do we see his figurative designs evolve, but it is the first time Bélanger will be exhibiting work that is abstracted in its entirety. Vital to Bélanger’s artistic process is his unique use of recycled materials, as these textured, metal surfaces act as a base to his vivid, layered brushwork.
For Yoakim Bélanger, “the body is perpetually changing, in constant transformation; we are abstract beings composed of shadow and light.” Never before has this concept been more clearly portrayed in Belanger’s work, as in this exhibition where artist breaks down the human form in to the most basic representation. The abstraction aligns with his intent of stripping humanity to its essence. Once something is broken down into its individual pieces, it can be understood in a new way, and reassembled in the mind’s eye endlessly. This is why the story told in From Abstract to Abstract does not dismiss the concept of figuration. On the contrary, it brings us to the edges of tangible forms to highlight the tipping point between abstraction and figurative.
Another medium that he has begun using is stainless mirror. Through the use of the stainless mirrors, there is an interplay between the subconscious and the conscious and back again, where viewers are incorporated into this thought and feeling process. This interplay continues infinitely, continually defining and redefining itself. For Bélanger, the consumption of his art by the viewer is vital to his artistic process, since his ultimate goal is to stir feelings and thoughts regarding the world as we understand it.
An exciting addition to From Abstract to Abstract is Rhizome, Bélanger’s video installation that melds the artist’s two loves, art and film. Just as he has pushed himself in his exploration of the human form into the abstract, he has extended this investigation even further into film
At an early age, Bélanger channelled his innovative vision through photography and multimedia. It was this foundation that forged the artist’s now distinctive manipulation of paint and the figure onto oxidized steel, aluminum, and mirrored surfaces. Though the markings on these materials are pre-existing, Bélanger breathes life and expression into them with his brush. It is then that he embodies human figures, generally fragmented, often erased, who sometimes decompose to the point where they jump out into the expressiveness of the picture plane
Yoakim Bélanger has truly embarked upon a journey in his artistic career, a journey into the unknown. Willing to push himself creatively at every opportunity, the results are sure to be boundless.