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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Louis Boudreault

They became famous ...
Marguerite Duras


Louis Boudreault

Louis Boudreault was born September 24th, 1956 at Havre-Aubert, Iles de la Madeleine. After his studies in litterature and theater, he leaves for France, where he enters the Louvre school in Paris. Then, he works as an art consultant for 6 years, contributing to the developement of important collections. In 1991, he starts to work full time as an artist. In 1998, he comes back in Québec and puts in place his studio in Montréal.

 Van Gogh




Speak, Memory: The Auratic Portraits of Louis Boudreault

By: James D. Campbell


“I witness with pleasure the supreme achievement of memory, which is the masterly use it makes of innate harmonies when gathering to its fold the suspended and wandering tonalities of the past.”

—Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited

“In the depths of the forest your image follows me.”

-- Racine, Phaedra

Marcel Proust


Through the tremulous prism of his truly implacable optic, Louis Boudreault makes it possible for our memories of his subjects to speak, and eloquently too, of prior acquaintance, admiration, respect, affection, even unrequited love. He encourages us to distinguish the features of his subject’s younger from their older selves, living from dead, celebrities we have known well from those we have almost forgotten. And while their lips may be closed, open or moving in mute speech, as Vladimir Nabokov once held of his own remembered and cherished ones, their eyes are wide open. (1) In the deep, dark and seemingly bottomless well of those eyes, there is a supplication less theirs’ than our own, and we immerse ourselves therein with alacrity and are moved and freshened by sundry memories provoked and recognitions pursued.

Boudreault is a rare savant at conjuring up truth and authenticity from portraits that practice a retroactive art of mnemonic seizure, serene investiture of self and aura-laden restoration. He speaks to our collective memory, and it then speaks in its turn of the changes wrought by time -- its nameless violence, ruptures and attrition – and proceeds to specify what, with a consummately delicate brush or iron, remains the same and what has changed as we identify his young subjects for ourselves. As we connect the dots between their childhoods and their adult lives, as we leaf through the thick mnemonic photo albums we all carry around inside our heads of the notables amongst us, whether it be Andy Warhol or Marguerite Duras, Winston Churchill, Chairman Mao or Francis Bacon, Boudreault summons them up, calls them forth from the dewy, idyllic meadowlands of their youth, and spurs a recognition that returns us knowingly to the archeo-psychic past, embedded memories and the ground of the figure itself.

I say ‘iron’ as in ‘clothing iron’ in addition to brush because the level of formal invention in Boudreault’s practice is very high, and stimulatingly so, and the iron is his signature instrument rather than traditional brush and paint can. To see him ‘ironing’ down fragments of handmade paper onto his pressed palimpsests rather than simply daubing there is to appreciate the sheer radicality – and the high stakes -- in achieving his paintings as wholly unified, totally unforeseen things. He builds his palimpsests from the ground floor on up like a carpenter or dry mason: a bare wood substructure is the support onto which myriad papers are ironed down onto the plane, resulting in a support rich with the stored labours of his thoughts and activities, with multiple strata that waylay all the voices of time. The applied charcoal then delineates forms, which are subsequently transformed into the outer epidermis – the breathing skin – of the portrait proper. A portrait by Boudreault is more than a portrait. It is a paradigm not only of what is mind to say but also of the process dimension, the much-vaunted act of making. Process reigns supreme here.

If Boudreault’s paintings achieve real presence and stake a singular claim upon us, it is because he amplifies the auratic volume of his portraits not just through acts of accretion – but through acts of consistent and radical subtraction. His is a manifestly reductive art that evokes and works though an aesthetic of absence. In spite of the perceived thickness of the support – a lovely mirage, really, or red herring since the sheer depth of the palimpsest is only literal around the edges of the wood support – Boudreault methodologically eliminates any detail, figural or colouristic – that might yield an extraneous effect or a baroque accent. 

quote (and more) here




Boris Vian


L'entrevue - L'histoire dans des yeux d'enfants
L'oeuvre récente du peintre Louis Boudreault est peuplée de bambins devenus célèbres

Des yeux. Les yeux clairs de Piaf ou de Van Gogh enfants, ceux plus sombres de la petite Juliette Gréco, du temps peut-être où sa mère et sa sœur avaient disparu durant la guerre, le regard lourd du jeune Albert Einstein. Ils vous dévisagent de leur enfance, dès qu'on passe le pas de l'atelier de l'artiste-peintre Louis Boudreault, au Belgo, rue Sainte-Catherine, à Montréal. De leur enfance et de l'histoire qui a suivi.

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Louis Boudreault Marcel Proust - Pablo Picasso and Margerite Duras

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