No computer or image-generating software will ever surpass man's all powerful imagination.The human imagination is endowed with sensitivy, emotion, and, above all, fantasy - three components that computer science can not even design.
These were my technological musing as I viewed René Lemay's paintings. His work defies classification. It is a challenge to academicism, a vision at the opposite pole from rugged realism, a door opening onto an original world. These paintings are a celebration, even an adventure!
At first glance, Lemav’s Sur la Plage, Concert d’un soir, Rafale bleue, La danseuse nue and Chevaux de bois present specific themes. However, these themes are only labels. Whatever the title, each painting serves as an invitation to play, make waves, enjoy life!
His multicoloured, often shiny palette reveals provocative forms that crowd each other, almost exploding off the canvas. He alludes to children, musicians, horses, players and all kinds of “actors". Portraits, landscapes and still-lites blend together in Lemay’s artistic universe which is neither figurative nor abstract.
Lemay describes his creative process as one based on sketches. Through his sketches he attempts to “freeze" reality. Yet he writes that “nothing is more boring than illustration." It is precisely the artist's shuffle between reality and imagination that makes his painting interesting. His work shows us life with an adolescents impetuous grin.
Rene Lemay's artistic talent was revealed early in Montreal. where he was born in 1934. His mother wanted him to become an artist and he did receive some training in art, but Lemay considers himself self-taught. His attitude toward painting stems from his background. He believes in being able to express himself freely. As soon as he was old enough. Lemay set up a craft pottery business. After that initial commercial success. he went on to start a publishing firm. Editions Maylube, in Saint-Eustache. His first works were reproduced (silkscreen and lithography) by the same firm.
Lemay first became known through a watercolour series of Canadian houses. He then moved on to acrylics. which allow for slight transparent effects. Acrylics were like fireworks for him. Music. childhood memories. horseback riding. anything with life and movement could be expressed! Lemay's paintings became a carnival of colourful characters and animals. Silvered whites contrasted with jades. a relaxed rider on a light or chestnut bay and entropic scenery filled the canvas. His is a world that both beckons and flees. enticing the viewer toward the unknown.
Besides Pellan and a handful of “automatistes”. few artists in Québec have provided this much pleasure through their work. The Italians have their futurists and the Catalans had Miro. Luckily we have Lemay.