Just like the evolving figures he depicts, Montreal-based artist Yoakim Bélanger himself is always evolving. He continues to push himself into his work, abandoning his comfort zone to embark on investigations of figuration and abstraction and how the two converge. This dichotomy is perfectly represented on the oxidized steel, aluminum, and stainless steel mirror. The reality of the condition of the raw material meets the reality of the changing body, while the abstract effects of time on the metal meet Bélanger’s abstract concepts of the human form. The result is a seamless union of two otherwise opposing forces.
In this series, we see more of the artist’s use of stainless-steel mirror and aluminum. These materials create an interplay between the subconscious and the conscious where viewers are incorporated into his thought and feeling process. For the artist, in each face or body there is a story – an experience. We are an embodiment of our journeys; each is unique and carries its share of shadow and light. This interplay continues perpetually, defining and redefining itself. For Bélanger, this is vital as his ultimate goal is to stir our feelings and thoughts regarding the world as we understand it.
Relying on his feelings and intuition, Bélanger never has preconceived ideas of the direction his works will take; he combines colours, techniques, layers and lines according to what he feels and desires in the moment. Composing the abstract portion of each work is the primary and most time-consuming part of the artist`s process. Believing that abstraction involves losing your bearings and accepting the discomfort that comes from relinquishing control over the painting, the artist alternates between construction and deconstruction until the material becomes rich, dense organic and chaotic. To Bélanger, demolition of the material through lining, scraping, and grinding the metal allows him to expose the rawness of the materiality. It is from chaos that images come to be.
This virtual exhibition by Yoakim Bélanger will invite the viewer to experience themselves in the art, to examine the human spirit and strip humanity down to its essence. Once something is broken down into its individual pieces, it can be understood in a new way, and re-assembled in the eye of the viewer.