Marie-Claude Bouthillier’s pictorial work is particularly sustained, rigorous, renewed and evolving in the field of contemporary art. Each project is a reformulation of the textile nature of the paint substrate where the relationship of dependence and affirmation between the canvas and the pigment is positioned in a new dynamic.

In Apparitions, her last work presented at the Clark Centre in 2008, Marie-Claude Bouthillier drew on the iconography of art history to identify a central figure: the drape. Continuing his research on form and surface, this object of classical painting could illustrate the relationship between the abyss of the canvas support and the representation of the textile, especially in the fold. In his paintings, the absent figures and bodies took shape in the simple outline of the drape that surrounded them. In this pictorial work where the canvas is always visible, round blue spots accompanied these drapes, acting as both a weft and a subject at the same time. Some abstract works, including a black grid, may have announced the new body of work presented here.

By means of inks, pigments and polymers applied directly to the canvas, it is both the material and its support that converge in a voluminous corpus that takes up the entire exhibition space. Here, the stripe becomes the fold in the drape, the grid mimics the weaving of the fibre, the spot and the stitch are gaps in the fabric. “To make a screen is a little like entering the paintings of Apparitions: to extend the drape to clear the frame and cut out the oval of the faces”. The patterns of the grid, the net and the screen expose the material that will eventually reveal things; they are the limits of a future shape.

Consisting of long suspended canvas edges and oval canvases mounted or free, the exhibition Faire écran places us in front of the evidence of the support and invites us into this particular place of “all painting” where canvas and pigment converge in an egalitarian relationship. Here, the repetition and accumulation of a refined vocabulary impose a pictorial force that holds us at the edge of the canvas, as close as possible to the material.


Crédit photo : Jocelyn Riendeau