Born St-Jérôme, Quebec (1970)
Space is the dominant theme in Patrice Charbonneau’s paintings. When a work begins, an arrangement of lines and planes outlines the idea of a site, a place, a landscape or an interior.
A graduate architect, the artist is interested in the way space is imagined, appropriated, inhabited and adapted to use. Lived space is neither uniform nor random. Rather, it is influenced by culture, habits, and experience. Everyone possesses a personal topography, invisible to others and often unconscious. It is precisely this human space that interests Charbonneau. Sometimes his focus is on space as it is modified by a distinct and emotionally charged event; and, at other times, by something quite commonplace and ordinary. There is always the issue of inhabited space as well as a narrative underlying the network of lines that the artist traces over his chosen surface.
In opposition to the internalized symbolic space that the artist represents are the physical properties of the work, which is governed by the manner in which the material is used. Opaque, transparent, thick or thin – it describes the artist’s gesture as he develops the painted image on the blank surface of the work. In certain instances the paint appears to create a third dimension of the image – as if the artist is using it to literally construct space; in other places, the paint drips, as gravity draws it downward. This lush style is perfectly expressive and indicative of the artist’s virtuosity – his simple and effective gesture to exactly serve his purpose.