• James Armstrong

A summer of art events begins in Hudson


Paintings and engravings of renowned Hudson artist Daniel Gautier (centre) drew admirers to the gallery opening Friday, June 30.

Artist, painter, and engraver, Daniel Gautier is the first guest artist of the summer season at Gallery 2 Barn Owls in downtown Hudson. Gautier, a Hudsonite himself, opened the gallery with a vernissage Friday, June 30 that drew an audience from across the region of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Montreal.

The rustic ambiance of the gallery space provides an excellent background for Gautier’s varied subjects that range from the sea and boats to violins and bovine beasts. “They are scenes that come from my imagination,” said the artist when asked if any of the scenes were from specific geographic locations. Despite realistic detail, colour and perspective, there is a surreal aspect to each of the works that draws the observer to ask questions and become involved.

Boat, Sea and Sky

An example is the work, ‘Le Soir de Pleine Lune, Le Traversier Danse’ where the ferryboat traverses the sky as opposed to the river. In the distance, on the horizon, are the glowing windows of a traditional Quebec village gathered around the silhouette of a spire crowned church. The boat, bathed in the light of the moon, is no longer headed for the village but is steering toward a higher goal. A watercraft in the sky is a recurring motif in Gautier’s work. According to the artist, it began when he was studying a boat on a beach for a long period of time. “It’s the magic of our brain,” he said with a laugh, adding, “When I looked up to the sky, I saw an image of the boat.” For Gautier, placing an object in the sky that, in reality, doesn’t belong there becomes an expression of the sacred. “It’s an act of reaching to the heavens, to God,” he said.

Ancient painting method

Gautier paints with oils on canvas using what he described as a traditional technique. “It’s the same method used by the great masters such as Ruebens and Rembrandt. You start with the foundation, the background,” said Gautier. He then establishes the colours followed by the details of the work. The result is a luminosity and depth that pulls at the viewers’ attention. The detail of the partial violin on a dark background filling most of the canvas is an attention-getting example of the technique. A partial violin is possible because the invisible part is presupposed as a mirror image. The contrast of the dark background sharpens the lighter colours of the violin attracting the viewer’s eye.

Gallery Opening

Gautier will be working in the 2 Barn Owls Gallery surrounded by some of his works that are available for purchase every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until July 22. More information about the artist is available at www.danielgautier.ca and 2 Barn Owls at www.2barnowls.com.

Hudson Land Art 2017

Gautier is also the curator of the annual summer Land Art event held in Hudson. The 2017 season takes place Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 15.

“The theme this year is water,” said Gautier adding the choice of theme was directly related to the flooding events this past spring.

The artists

Participating artists are Kent Thompson, Monica Brinkman, a duo team of Nancy Farnum and Roxanne Woods, ending with Daniel Gautier. The artists will be using outdoor spaces at Hudson Town Hall, 481 Main Road, Saint-Jean Park, corner of Saint-Jean Street and Cameron, Selkirk Park at Selkirk Street and Main Road, and 2 Barn Owls Gallery at 422 Main Road.

Shorter event

This year’s event is considerably shorter than previous years because of a smaller budget and less time for organizing the event due to unexpected flooding and the ensuing clean-up that required everyone’s attention. For the curator, a smaller event is a positive thing.

“The focus is on parks that are more central parts of the town,” he said. Land-Art Hudson culminates with a public vernissage Sunday, July 16, at 2 p.m. in each of the locations. Gautier said that details of how that will happen would be available in the near future.

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