Patrice Charbonneau

In Medias Res

March 23 – April 28, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 23, 2 – 5pm

Read the Review by Hugh Alcock

Lonsdale Gallery is pleased to present In Medias Res, a solo exhibition of new work by Montreal artist Patrice Charbonneau; known for his rich tactile semi-abstract paintings that explore personal narratives, everyday lived spaces, and built environments. The artist’s recent series of work will be presented in Toronto in March, directly following a major solo museum exhibition at Plattsburgh State Art Museum, in New York.

In Medias Res is Latin for ‘into the middle of things`. It signifies beginning a story in the midst of the narrative. It also references an internal state of being in the middle of one’s life; reflecting back on past actions, situations, and events. Charbonneau examines everyday urban realities. Growing up in the suburbs of Montreal, for Charbonneau, these sites represent daily life and people working. He focuses on sites were businesses operate in the front, and domestic spaces are situated in the back. Ordinary sites that border on the banal, such as basements, storage rooms, parking lots, alleyways, etc. take on added significance. He directs our attention to these liminal sites, located in between the public and the private, to uncover the underlying psychology, which mediates our experiences of these spaces.

A seasoned painter and trained architect, Charbonneau’s practice marries the visual language of abstraction with design. The artist approaches his compositions with considered and deliberate attention to the essential characteristics of architectural forms. He begins his compositions with a loose arrangement of lines and planes to create the initial impression of a site. He then builds up the surface with buttery bands of colour: reds, oranges, yellows, cream, blues and greens; sometimes punctuated with surprising punches of aerosol. Gestural applications of thick translucent paint are overlaid, allowing the previous layers to remain visible, adding further depth and multidimensionality to his work.

Charbonneau embraces abstraction as a way of conjuring the particular feeling evoked by a site. His compositions act as a form of visual mapping, which emphasizes that lived space is never neutral, but shaped by habits, culture and experiences. Charbonneau’s approach to spatial arrangements renders interior and exterior environments from multiple points of view. This deliberate play with perspective is significant, because it highlights the ways personal and shared cultural memories intersect in these spaces. His unique aesthetic sensitivity to rendering space invites viewers into his multi-layered narratives via his sophisticated network of lines and planes.


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