Montreal-based painter Paul Bureau carries on the long tradition of Quebec abstraction begun with such notables as Borduas, Riopelle, Molinari and Gaucher. With BFA and MFA degrees from Concordia University and further studies in Paris, Bureau has been on the scene for 30 odd years. His Canadian and international exhibition history, both solo and group, is extensive. As well he has exhibited at many art fairs in Europe and North America.
Known for his deep and sometimes unusual investigations into abstraction, employing materials ranging from traditional canvas and paper to cardboard and clay, each investigation/show is thematic in form as well as in title. His solo show titles are always quirky and witty, for example “Florilege” in 1998 and “Out of Shape” in 2015. There is a logical and consistent evolution in his exploration of abstract art leading to revelatory and eye pleasing results. His work has been the focus of favourable reviews and texts by such critics and curators as Robert Enright, Gary Michael Dault, Mark Lanctot, Rene Viau, James D. Campbell,and the late John Bentley Mays. Bureau rated a mention in Roald Nasgaard’s “Abstract Painting in Canada”. His work is in many private and public collections including the Royal Bank, Aldo Group, Art Bank of Canada and Cenovus Energy.
For several years, he has been interested in the primordial aspects of abstract painting, both in physicality and materiality. How one applies paint, selects colour, and organizes a composition, (be it a canvas, wood panel, paper, cardboard, or with ceramics,) is what produces the body of an oil painting. He opts for bright, contrasting colors - the most dazzling that nature can offer. These paintings are built with layers of thick oil, successively applied with a brush or palette knife. At first, the working method and temporality seem hidden, but colourful fractures reveal the presence of all previous applications. Layers of colourful drips of paint also appear on the edges of the frame. The surface of each painting presents the temporality of its construction, its textures, and multiple layers of colors. Embodied in the materiality of these works is an emotional dimension, present from their incipience. Each series descends from preceding series. Though there are always marked differences between series, the eye yet perceives visual links within forms, or colors, or textures.
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