In the Fall of 2014, Canadian artist Marie Danielle Leblanc embarked upon world travels which took her on a two month journey to Nepal, followed by a trip to Italy. By mid-November, Marie was trekking in Annapurna in Nepal and several days later in Thorong La over 17,769 feet above sea level. The new solo exhibit, A Trek Across Nepal at Elisa Contemporary Art is inspired by these travels. The exhibit will open at the Riverdale Gallery on April 25, 2015.
During her trip to the Himalayan Region, which is the Sanskrit term for “abode of the snow” (hima (snow) + ālaya (dwelling)), she was captivated and inspired by the beauty and the spirituality. She captured some of her thoughts and reflections, including these:
I am in the Himalayan mountains there is no word strong enough to describe so much beauty…This morning, the view was stunning over the white cap snow mountains, pure joy to look at this scene…Here in the mountains, I lost track of the date, day and even the month, first time in my life.
Visitors and locals alike regard Annapurna Sanctuary with unique reverence. Encircled by a colossal ring of Himalayan giants, the Annapurna Sanctuary has been held sacred for centuries. It is believed that high deities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient shamanistic traditions call this remarkable place "home."
Marie Danielle's travels took her up to Thorong La, a mountain pass that stays as the highest pass in the world with an elevation of 17,769 feet above sea level in the Damodar Himal, in central Nepal. The pass is located on a trail which connects the village of Manang in the Manang District to the east, with the temple of Muktinath and the nearby village of Ranipauwa, in the Mustang District to the west. This pass is regularly used by local traders, as well as trekkers. The Himalayan Region includes eight of the existing 14 highest summits in the world (exceeding 8,000 meters/26,000+ feet).
For Marie, the beauty of her landscapes comes mostly from a spontaneous gesture and a certain attraction to danger. She convinces her viewers to see more than what appears in the painting. She transforms places and even the highest mountains in the world, into a space that transport the viewers into timeless and imaginary landscapes. The exhibit will include her impressions of Annapurna and Annapurna base camp, Kot Danda (located in North-western Nepal, part of the mugu district), Pothana (in the Western region) and Jhinu Danda (known for its steep hills and close proximity to Hot Springs. Her paintings also capture the beauty and vividness of the Rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal.
Canadian artist, Marie Danielle Leblanc, was born in Trois-Rivières (Quebec) and has lived and worked in Montreal (Quebec) since 1990.
Her paintings transform landscapes into poetic worlds. The artist loves to work with matter, her creativity leading to a never-ending fascination. She has developed her own style, almost her own 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.
According to Marie:
“In my practice, I like to experiment with different media such as acrylic, oil, tar, ink and resin. I'm interested in the inner functioning of the living. That is why I particularly like to work with tar; an organic matter with unique color, odor and texture. Painting carries me to places where strength and delicacy, certainty and uncertainty, known and unknown, usual and strange, even life and death, coast along. Notions of duality are manifesting themselves by interactions between the body and the mind, the matter and the thought. In a state of abandonment and receptiveness, I try to let myself be carried by the act of painting without suppressing anything.”
During her travels, she likes to write down her thoughts, makes a note of the weather or the name of a place, take pictures and collect images. Marie’s travel diary is an ideal instrument for her. Whether she is driving on the highway or in the open country, walking on never-ending beaches or rocks stroked by the sea, it is through her travels that the artist captures landscapes that stretch into the vista.
She has participated in twenty solo exhibitions, and more than fifty group exhibitions. Her work has also been shown throughout Canada and in Paris, Sydney, Mexico and Tokyo.