Claude Le Blanc
In his search for authenticity, Claude Le Blanc has made a deliberate choice to work with “primitive” tools: broad ink knives, oil paints, brushes and easels, which are easy to move around as he follows the sunlight. His workshop is quite “minimalist”, uncluttered and uncontaminated by the presence of computer assisted drawing tools, touch up software or vector based programs, which he used for many years. He works on multiple painting simultaneously. He begins by deconstructing them, than reconstructs them and transforms them. This is done so successfully that he quips “the works will remain in danger until I’ll get them out of the studio”. The only equal to this power to transform his creations is “the satisfaction of being able to earn a living from his art work”.
Boats are a recurring theme as they are a symbol of passage and change. The boats have no oarsmen and no oars; they are drawn as portraits, signifying the abandonment and the solitude specific to each person. It is easy for the spectator to identify with the boats, which are depicted in a state of enveloping calm, which enhances the propensity to reflection. The bright colors of the surrounding nature and the surface water are associated with the dream world, bordering on abstraction and thus creating a striking contrast and overall suggestion of chaos. The works give testimony to the internal confusion experienced by every person. Once the artist is freed from the anxiety and constraints, arising from the search for an appropriate subject to paint, he is able to engage in a purer form of artistic expression: the representation of emotion.
Working in large formats, Claude Le Blanc is extremely generous in his movements, which sometimes appear violent. His goal is to allow the spectator to grasp his intentions as he thrusts with the ink knife, hesitates with his brush strokes, makes touch ups, and leaves traces. The use of rigid panels allows him to etch and work more deeply into the surface, to explore the information from previous layers, sometimes right down to the wood surface. The ink knife scraping quickly across the surface of the material creates a pattern of sound, almost music like. The porous nature of the material allows for beautiful texture as the paint is absorbed. He always begins its paintings in abstraction but his movements become more precise during the execution, and the work becomes a type of writing across the surface. He uses to full advantage the translucence, the bursts, the vibrations, the confrontations and the mixtures of color, which can only be achieved by the use of oil paint. The essence of the work has already been completed.
The countrysides created by Claude, are reminiscent of Georges Braque, who worked far away from the social scenes of public life, concentrating on more intimate and less well-known paintings (especially boats). They are also reminiscent of Tom Hopkins, whose boats and countrysides left a deep image in his memory. This is the environment that has influenced Claude in his quest for simplicity, far beyond the influence of the computer. His goal is to create something that no computer will ever be able to replicate.
Claude Le Blanc is a graduate in Fine Arts from the Collège Vieux-Montréal. He has always worked in creative contexts, even after he stopped painting for a short time while working on 3D illustrations. He has gone back to basics, because as he states “painting has almost become an addiction”. He cannot go for more than a day… without painting and pouring his emotions onto the canvas. “Painting is not an option in life, but rather a way of being”. It is above all a quest. He does not, however, let himself become attached to his works, which he considers as “having only a transient life within the studio”. At the same, it is through such works that he has been able to make his mark.