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Robert Marchessault is Canada's leading interpreter of trees in paintings. Much of his work for the past 30 years has been devoted to progressive ideas presented by images of trees.
Whether as unique single trees or groupings in a landscape, his unmistakable style finds ways to move viewers. An underlying passion for ecological responsibility prompts his art. The image of a tree is universally understood as carrying positive symbolic strengths; in Marchessault's hands the more subtle and introspective aspects are explored.
My paintings are an active response to a sense of wonder at being in the world. They do not address any specific art discourse or theory. Using a simple landscape format provides a surface on which I try to express and/or reflect on my mind-state while contemplating experiences I have had - mostly outdoors. Since the late 1970s my works have gone through a range of stylistic treatments with a current focus on space, distance, atmosphere, light, energy and textures - presented on a two dimensional surface using paint. I compose and paint images that resonate between principle subjects and surrounding spaces.
Sometimes the sensation of momentarily loosing "myself" occurs in open places. Standing with great spaces before me may trigger a perception where boundaries are only shimmering illusions and a holistic presence is pervasive.
I see trees, plants and bushes as tracing energetic linkages between earth and sky.
The tree breathes what we exhale. When we exhale, the tree breathes. So. We have a common destiny with the tree. We are all from the earth. (Floyd Red Crow)
My landscape paintings are composed from memories of an experience. I use memory as a filtering agent to distil an image for a painting, discarding useless details. I do occasional on-site drawings or photographs which pile up in my studio; but I do not generally refer to them much while making a painting...When a painting is complete it must reflect an emotional sensation that calls to mind some aspect of my remembered perceptions.