Familiar Places, Unfamiliar Times | Jacques Descoteaux

My works are primarily inspired by landscape.  By the landscape of the North – Northern Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland.  By the big sky. By the sea.

They are about memory – about the atmosphere, about the impression left by a sunrise or a sunset or a midnight sun, by a night sky, by a brief glance at the clouds or the horizon or the land or the sea.  They are the abstraction of this memory. They are the imagination of that memory. They seem to be familiar places.  However, what we thought we recognized has become more ambiguous, more mysterious.

We live in a time when we so often look for immediate answers, for instant gratification, when a 15-second sound bite is all the attention we can give. The paintings in this exhibition take the viewer and indeed the artist to a time we may no longer be familiar with – when we sit back and contemplate, when we take the time to slow down, to let the paintings slowly reveal themselves, to create our own narrative. In so many different ways, these are unfamiliar times.

The paintings in this exhibition were all completed with a painting knife, a tool that, for me, is a much slower, contemplative process than using brushes.  All were completed in 2022.

For over 25 years, Jacques Descoteaux has had a dual career – as a professional accountant (CPA, CMA) working in the automobile industry, and as a painter – first working in watercolour and pastel, and more recently in oil on canvas and oil and acrylic on paper.  Today, Jacques continues to paint, but also works in sculpture, in mixed media, and in video.

He is mostly inspired by landscape. By the landscape of the North – Northern Quebec, Northern British Columbia, Northern Ontario, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland. By the big sky. By the sea. By the rocky shores.

Over the years, he studied with a number of artists in their studio and at various art schools, including attending a pastel master class with American artist Wolf Kahn at the National Academy in New York City.  He was granted art residencies in 2015 and 2019, part of the Cill Rialaig Project, in Co. Kerry, Ireland. 

He volunteers on a number of Boards of not-for-profit organizations, in social justice and in the art world.  He is a member of Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, an artist-run gallery in Toronto, the Al Green Sculpture Studio and School, BRAVO-Art, and le Labo. 

He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Toronto, Montréal, and New York.  His work can be found in private collections in Canada, the US, and Europe. Originally from Montreal, he now lives and works in Toronto.

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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