The colours and pigments of the ocean, the vegetation and the magnificent hues of every distinct sunrise and sunset of Cat Island in the Bahamas are the inspirations for Marie-Danielle Leblanc’s latest pieces in CAT ISLAND showing at Art Works Gallery (on exhibit from October 27th to November 29th). Leblanc’s pieces are hard to grasp from digital reproductions or in print form. They require us to stand before them to experience the rich depth of the nuances of the materials at play; and in this process we have no choice, but to meditate on the work, and become enthralled by them, much in the same way one becomes captivated by the horizon in a moment of contemplation.
Leblanc often draws inspiration from her wide travels around the world, gathering and absorbing the magnificence of the fields of colours into her heart and letting them pour out in the form of lustrous, toffee-like sheets and splatters onto board canvases in her studio in Montreal, Quebec. Her most current abstracted landscape pieces are a direct response to her sensory experiences while on vacation in the Bahamas. The beauty of Leblanc’s landscapes are created through her emotive bands of gestural pigments repeatedly layered on top of each other evoking the work of such modern masters as Rothko and Newman. The works thus invoke passionate, melancholy or tempestual moods lurking on the horizon. “The wide ranges of tones, form the lightest to the darkest, as well as the layering effect accentuate both the textures and the colours. The matter recesses or retracts, becomes distorted or fragmented. Some sky and sea reflections seem to rest on the shore, hazy textures hide perspectives and shapes slowly disappear in the whiteness of the sand or the indigo of the sea.” *
Leblanc has created over 800 works of art since graduating from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, using various techniques such as painting, screen printing, digital imaging and photography. Her work has been shown in 20 solo exhibitions and more than fifty group shows in several galleries in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, as well as in Chicago, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo. Her work is part of many collections including corporate and private ones globally as well as gracing the covers of such book covers by Les Editions du Boreal, Les Editions Quebec-Amerique and Les Edisitons du Renouveau pedagogique. Leblanc’s abstract visions of the landscape have been refined through over 10 years of art practice, her current process for the pieces being shown in CAT ISLAND involve the layering, manipulation and orchestration of such materials as oil, tar and resin on wood surfaces allowing the veins of the wood to peak through the transparent paints and interweave with the textures of the various mediums. Leblanc “has developed her own style, almost her signature. Her work leads toward the creation of a bare space, a world that can be discovered and contemplated. She presents us with the result of a meditative process, the testimony of a new contemplation of the horizon.” *