Galerie Simon Blais pays tribute to Louise Robert (1941-2022) with an exhibition of powerful works that have never before been shown on its walls. The selection presented here goes back to the beginning of the painter's career and brings together mainly her "grey paintings" from 1978 to 1982, large, almost monochrome compositions similar to slate. In the more than forty years since their very first exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Louise Robert's paintings have lost none of their interrogative force.
A closer look reveals words written on the surface, barely visible. This trap of illegible or fragmentary writing makes the paintings even more appealing. Scratched with the fingers or fingernails on the material, these signs encourage the observer to decipher them closely and from different angles: "These painted words seek to say the painting differently. They say it under the mode of return, hesitation, syncopation, repetition, resumption, stuttering", wrote René Payant in 1980.
Simon Blais adds: "In spite of their simple appearance, these paintings conceal real mysteries... the hidden words, scribbled in a legible way or not, call us and attract us towards the surface of the works. This stripping down is a credit to the artist, of an uncommon audacity, by the one who will spend the rest of her career accumulating signs, masses of matter and colours, on her canvases and her collages on paper, while inscribing from now on words and short sentences of her own, all clearly legible, and so inspired... and inspiring."
Between painting and writing, Louise Robert's works invite the viewer to conduct an aesthetic investigation. They ask the viewer to spend time with them. He will finally realize that there is no meaning to be decoded on the surface, through these scribbles laid on many shades of gray; the painting is the subject, free of interpretation.
With this selection, Galerie Simon Blais wishes to introduce the work of this great Quebec painter to those who may not have known her, while giving connoisseurs the opportunity to revisit a fundamental work for the artist as if it were the first time.