Le petit lieu, David Lafrance’s 4th solo exhibition at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, gathers a new body of work comprising five large-scale paintings, a series of drawings, and three wood sculptures. These artworks represent the achievement of three years of extensive research.
Now situated in Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu, David Lafrance’s studio expands beyond its walls: outside and in nature. This region, which once inspired painters such as Ozias Leduc and Paul-Émile Borduas, is now at the heart of Lafrance’s work, who observes it closely and in real-time. If the artist painted imaginary places in the past without anchoring his subject into reality, he now depicts spaces he explores on a sensorial level. In doing so, Lafrance’s new artworks bear witness to closely scrutinized nature as he keels down in the garden to contemplate its slow rhythm. Sitting on his stool, the artist discovers what is immediate to him and within reach, in pure reciprocity and symbiosis with his subject. Visual standpoints of the paintings are in a high-angle shot (looking down on its subject) or leveling with the represented specimens. Paint layers are stacked on each other, in infinite palimpsests, like a stubborn rewriting of the territory within the same visual plane. Furthermore, the three sculptures represent the garden bench on which the artist leans or kneels during his observation sessions. Between the admiration of nature and its hostility, Lafrance is interested in climate changes, but above all in the impact that a small, almost imperceptible change can have on its immediate environment. Therefore, his unique approach to landscape painting reveals any anomalies or incongruities as a continuous effort to grasp the slightest alteration and the repercussions which result from it.
Le petit lieu invites the viewer to take a seat alongside David Lafrance and contemplate nature as it is and transforms from one instant to another.