Nicole Tremblay’s ethereal paintings of women combine such far-flung influences as Greek caryatids, female activists of the 1960s, and women in art history throughout the ages. Tremblay’s works are tributes to these women of the past and all those in the present. She paints stylized female figures, usually in a strong head-on pose. The images are flat in the traditional sense, but Tremblay’s textures animate them in a more subtle way. She builds her surfaces out of a surprising mixture of acrylic paint, sand, and gold leaf, all of which create depth. Her lithe painting hand keeps the movement flowing with drizzles and splashes. Emblematic as they are, the women are laden with allusions to diverse mythological and historical stories. They wear ceremonial robes and jewels and strike poses of power. Birds flying next to a woman in salute might represent peace, nature, energy – the narrative is open-ended. The figures are both icons and, as Tremblay herself describes them, “beyond icons.”
For Tremblay, painting women from history and classicism is “reliving this era of humanity when God was Goddess.” The female figure represents family, togetherness, intuition, deeply-felt emotional instincts, and creation. Her paintings allow the female body to be seen as the monumental figure it is in real life. Tremblay taps into facets from the long-standing traditions of portraiture, triumphal art, and narrative painting. However, her art is not exclusionary or even hierarchical. It is bathed in warm colors, inviting textures, and faces that draw the viewer in. It does not shut men out, but rather shines a light on women’s places in the world and envisions a realm in which both work together for the benefit of all.
Nicole Tremblay was born in Jonquière, Québec province, Canada and today works close to Montreal. As well as painting, she has worked in murals and glass.