The movement of science
By the art critic, Alexandre Motulsky-Falardeau
Éric Dupont was born scientist, but he became a painter. This maybe explains the idea behind his paintings. An attempt to create a new movement, as science must invent theories. This movement, he calls it dualism.
Etymologically, dualism is a « belief or thought system which, in a given area, poses the coexistence of two first principles, opposite and irreducible. » Moreover, we can say that it is defined as « the nature of which has two separate elements, opposite and complementary. »
Not to forget the metaphysical dualism in philosophy; the ontological and platonist, gnostic and manichean; Pascal’s dualism and, obviously, the Cartesian one.
If Descartes created the dualism of body and soul. Eric Dupont will perhaps create the dualism of the infinitely large and the infinitely small regarding painting. At least that is the challenge he took on.
The art of this painter is mainly connected with the artistic movement known as abstract expressionism. This movement, born in the United States during the 1940s, has spread after the war around the world with great names of american art. We think of the great Jackson Pollock, the most famous of all, and his action painting, but also to artists like Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Franz Kline to name only a few.
In Quebec, the purest representatives of Abstract Expressionism call themselves the Automatistes, who, after their great teacher Paul-Émile Borduas and the manifest Le refus global (1948) burst into a new genre that became the rage art not only here but who also introduced our great painters outside of our borders. When looking at the works of Dupont, one cannot help but thinking about the paint work of Jean-Paul Riopelle and Marcelle Ferron.
It’s the same feeling of depth and whirlwind that grips us while looking at the paintings of this artist from Quebec. There is the movement of the elementary particles, the colors of galaxies, the pigment of the cells, DNA and RNA.
And if we look more closely at the paintings, it is possible to see a great precision in the gesture and execution. We must look more closely at the analysis of his recent paintings with a scientist and art lover eye to be able to understand the complexity that is represented. Because looking at the paintings of Eric Dupont, is to enter a world with which we are not necessarily in regular contact, it is making the effort to learn the technical language, that of science, it is keeping this freshly acquired knowledge in mind when looking at his work. It is a demanding exercise, but oh so satisfying, because it gives access to a new perspective.
And although it’s easy to draw parallels with other currents of painting, this exercise is necessary for those who wish to have a better understanding of his work.
It is by asking questions that we arrive to form our judgment. It is useless to call genius whenever an artistic production occurs. A genius capability is often the expression of a disease and disorder of the soul. Eric Dupont is far from mental disorders, very far from the perpetual idea that we have of artists, tormented and dying. Many contemporary artists, for whom the suffering is synonym of motivation.
Besides, he does not try to relate emotions nor to convey them in his paintings. There is certainly a message, a desire to share the love of science, his first passion. But also a desire to provide a movement, a style. Just like those that preceded him. What wanted the Automatistes and in the same direction as them, the Abstract Expressionists? A revolution, nothing less compared to the art of previous years. Two major points draw our attention, which are found in the process of Dupont. First, a new approach to the canvas that becomes the support of the artist’s gesture, textures and painting material is often worked on the same surface. On the other hand, the state of mind reached by the artist, who claims to be from the new thinkings such as surrealism. The gesture here becomes the tool of the unconscious mind. With Dupont, of course, the will of representing the universe in all its complexity, whether it be at a cosmic or microscopic scale, faces the inherent abstraction of the explored worlds. Abstraction then becomes, not a desire to move away from the real, but rather an impulse to the real but without the figurative reference. It will be the abstract concepts, like rhythm, frequencies and interpenetrating bodies, that will be exposed in their complexity.
The desire for expression goes through an invention that articulates shapes and colors without obvious reference. It is rather the emotion that gives meaning to the artistic adventure. Now let’s look at what happens on the canvas. From a distance, often, you can feel like a sensation of tachism, as pointillism. The surface vibrates in its repetition of organic patterns that intersect. We do not necessarily feel the physical limits of the canvas, as if the pattern could be repeated endlessly. The forms overlap as in constant revolution, they spin, they seem to move.
This inherent dynamism in the speech is the constant of his current works. The vibration of the primary colors is accentuated by the thickness of the material that is often scraped on the canvas. The colors mixed directly on the support surround a white background that sometimes aspirates forms. The reference to space or life is reflected in a composition that brings most of the time the components of the composition to a center. Thus, it is a central power that draws shapes in space, giving both a feeling of disorganized floating and one of consistency. The tangle of the dynamics lends itself to Dupont’s sayings. The floating particles in space or in organic matter may be raised here by oscillations, projections, in short, all the combinations of patterns that refer to movement and life.