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Oh Canada!

  La Malbaie, 60x60, 2018, acrylic on canvas

La Malbaie, 60x60, 2018, acrylic on canvas

The more I travel, the more I come back to Canada.  In gratitude.  More than ever, I feel the need to thank my parents, and my grandparents before them, for the sacrifices they made.  A glimpse into the art and culture found here, whether First Nations, or Founding Nations reveals the deepest influences in my art.  My Italianita is only a part of who I am as a painter.  The rest is comprised of undeniable influences of the works of the artists who have surrounded me since childhood.  Groundbreakers, giants, courageous and bold- even in their portrayal of serene quietude which can only be found in this land.  From The Group of Seven, to Les Automatistes, to Morrisseau- to the Magic Realism of Colville and Pratt, and finally to Michael Snow, Weiland and Shadbolt- they have all crossed my path.  There are too many to mention.

  In Baie St. Paul, where painting is a religion, the streets are packed with tourists on a warm, sunny July afternoon.  So too are the many little galleries.  In La Malbaie, the centrally-located "commercial" gallery is packed with visitors.  The proprietor/curator is charming, professional and certainly knows her stuff.  I turn to the paintings and realise that these are not just Quebec artists. Reps have been coming here for years without so much as being able to place a single piece from an artist outside of Quebec.  Something has changed.  This gallery represents the new rule, and not the exception.  The positive energy in the space is palpable.  The spirit of Canadiana is in full-force here.  All you have to do is look at the art.  Every living Canadian artist owes a debt of gratitude to those whose works now fill our public galleries and spaces.  There is a strong legacy here, as famous collectors like Steve Martin have attested to.  

Our use of texture, our colour, or perception of space (as vast as the land), our light- unmistakeable.  I see it in the work of my contemporaries.  I see it in my work.  

 

La Malbaie, 60x60, 2018, acrylic on canvas

Jonathan CentenoComment