Saturday, March 6, 2010

Francois X Chamberlain

Francois X Chamberlain
Propeller Centre For the Arts

There is something very refreshing about sifting through the work of our senior statesmen. Francois comes to us from La belle Province and born in 1931. The walls of the north gallery are adorned or should I say ladened with his metal constructions. Formed perhaps like collage, I really would prefer to refer to them as rusted paintings. He has indeed built these hanging compositions from found metal junk, but at the same time they feel very painterly. As perhaps Riopelle would have built up layers of paint in formless abstraction, Francois has given abstract form to objects that his keen eye has culled from objects rejected by a society tired of them. It is not a new tool he has employed, as found object as artefact hails back to the early modernists. He has made it fresh and new. Nothing that he has done is at all trite or folksy.
He has taken modernist values and placed them boldly into the palette of the post modernist, a no holds barred non movement. His cubist/minimalist approach to arranging objects on the plane could very well be an early painting by Braque or Picasso. What I find most endearing is the warmth of his palette. He had very generously explained how one of the pieces was about the sinking of Catherine's naval pride the Potemkin . All the while I'm looking at a very carefully arranged composition that drew me into a flattened cubist winter scene, but I felt warmed by the fire of an Artist.

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