The Island breeze | 2002 | Robert Bernier

Robert Bernier | Revue parcours | Été 2002

Seize the passing moment, imprison it on a material surface with pigment, create the sensation of capturing light with brushes, hands or trowels, diverting reality so that it flows through a different doorway, modifying it and leaving your mark on it...

That is what painting allows you to do, or at least creates the impression of allowing you to do.

For a painter, the physical location where works are executed has always been extremely important. The studio, and especially its size and fenestration, affect the works of art that are produced within its confines. Its location, and especially the region where it is situated, can become crucial factors, influencing the chromatic range used by the artist. Examples of this abound. In fact they are innumerable, although some are better known than others. For Impressionists it was l'Ile de France, with its singular light that traced a pathway for this highly celebrated group, both in the choice of colour and in the way it was applied to canvass. Closer to home, the works of Jeanne Rhéaume, painted in Greece, or of Stanley Cosgrove, painted in Mexico, bear the stamp of light that is saturated with clarity to the point where it all but absorbs colours entirely.

With this in mind, and very conscious of the influence of place on the final rendering of his pictorial production, René Lemay, each summer, prepares his painting excursion to the Magdalene Islands at the mouth in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where light reflecting off red dunes and the sea is blended as nowhere else in the world. The canvasses created under these unique conditions bear the indescribable and yet highly tangible marks of this tiny archipelago, lying at the gateway to the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Subjects that are dear to the artist — local characters, sailboats, etc. — impose themselves in a different way. He even executes some paintings with an imposed theme, for example on the occasion of the 'Mer océane' symposium held in July, an event that brings local artists together, and 'Art figuratif in August, another event that gathers artists from all across the continent, not to mention ‘Barbouillart,' a seaside event at Havre-aux-Maisons, during which a couple of dozen participants each execute a work on paper in less than one hour, and then watch as their creations are sold off at auction.

In his island studio, René Lemay undertakes the production of works that incorporate lacquer, a technique he learned during his stay in Vietnam, on which collages are grafted. His works on wood allow him to explore new avenues and to bridge his wide range of artistic experience, gathered in different places,

with the final product being you can admire Lemay quite different from his usual works, as well as those ona style. His ‘mixed technique' number of other artists. lacquers will likely be pre

Between sailing trips, artistic production and his participation in Magdalens Island cultural activities, René Lemay ensures his continuity while allowing the winds of the new and the unexpected to point the way to uncharted horizons.