Galerie D’Este is pleased to present Passage, a solo exhibition of recent works by painter Julie Desmarais. Traversing Canadian territory in search of locations that are unaffected by the human presence, or little so, Desmarais concentrates her practice on the representation of natural phenomena. Motivated by the desire to produce painted works of a singular language and thoughtful regard, she decomposes and reconstructs each element. Conceived as open windows, her figurative works in oil are sometimes immense.The painting takes form in the manner of pastiche, in which a desire to create a mirror of reality affirms itself as a singular point. An encounter with her work invokes a sensory experience that calls upon the body, shared understanding, and the recognizable; the painting becoming a passage towards the immensity of chosen locations.
For this exhibition, the artist drew upon images from her most recent travel journals to create a new series of oil paintings. The works are inspired by spectacular landscapes of the Bas-du-Fleuve, extending to the Gaspésie. She recorded these journals during expeditions undertaken to rediscover popular tourist sites in Québec such as Kamouraska, the Parc des Chutes Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles, the Parc des Chutes Dorwin, Tadoussac, and many others.
For those familiar with the oeuvre of Desmarais, these works demonstrate an exploration of new painting technique, with an accompanying slow transformation towards a softer and more precise pictorial form. Faint glimpses of prepared canvas integrate themselves into the landscape compositions, providing contemplative spaces for the viewer’s imagination. A stripping back of more conventional painting practice is underway as the works are repositioned within current artistic practice.
Hailing from the Laurentides, Julie Desmarais has lived and worked in Montreal for the last 20 years. She completed her Bachelors in Visual Arts and Art History at the Université de Montréal in 1999, and in 2004 she won the Young Artists of the Laurentides competition. The prize for this competition included a grant and the opportunity to exhibit her work at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides. Since that time, she has participated in multiple group shows and several contemporary art fairs across Canada and the United States, and her works can be found in private and public collections in Canada and internationally. She maintains a daily artpractice at her studio space in Chat des Artistes, and her fifth solo exhibition entitled Passage will take place in March 2019 at Galerie D’Este in Montréal. She is represented by Galerie D’Este since 2010.