Posted on May 18th, 2010 by .

The Musée d’Art Contemporain takes an interesting approach for its current Borduas retrospective. Paul-Émile Borduas is an icon in the Quebec pantheon of artists.  His abstract works are in major collections – both private and public.  Josée Belisle, curator of the exhibition and of the MAC collection, invited four artists to choose their favourite Borduas work from the museum’s permanent collection. The fab four –  Irene F. Whittome, François Lacasse, Guy Pellerin and Roland Poulin – also have their own art displayed.

I loved the mood in at the show.  Their Borduas choices are hung on walls painted the palest cloud-grey, so the artist’s dynamic white and black abstractions really pop! Stop at the top of the stairs. Your eyes are immediately drawn to Figures schèmatiques, 1956.  Black and white shapes surge across the canvas with spontaneous energy. The paint was applied thickly and quickly.   Borduas, who admired childrens’ art for its unprompted naturalness, is renowned for his abstract paintings: of prime importance is in the gesture and the accidental.

For me, the great thing about abstract art is that it is like seeing a shape in the clouds:  the reality is in your mind.  Look at these powerful paintings closely. (Tell the guard you won’t touch!) You can feel how the paint was generously applied.  (Was it with a spatula? A wide palette knife?) My favourite was his ink series, Sans titre 1959-60.  Black shapes stand out boldly on small squares torn from Gitanes cigarette packs, whose blue packaging peeks out as stripes along the edges. This series is hung on serene blue walls that echo the Gitane colours. The artists invited to select ‘their’ fave Borduas have their new works presented, as well as pieces owned by the MAC.  Enjoy! Take a tour. It’s free! Closed Sunday and Monday. On til October 3, 2010.  514-847-6226  185 Ste. Catherine Street West / corner Jeanne Mance.  Métro:  Place des Arts.

Like contempary art?  You’ll love The Belgo Building.  372 Ste-Catherine Street West.  A mere hustle away thro construction sites, but well worth it for some of the finest contemporary art in Quebec.

Hungry ? Le contemporain, the bistrot at the MAC, is a perfect pause.  For lunch or dinner.

185 Ste.Catherine West. 514-847-6900.  Closed Sunday and Monday.

Plus, you are 5 minutes from Chinatown.

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