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assessing the series, 'An abundant and generous seed feeds the most
extraordinary plantations proliferating from the most fertile of soils.
The vigour, the power of germination of these flowers and plants is
such that they reach for the nourishing sun with as much brilliance as
the most sparkling, the most baroque, the most rococo fireworks'
('Introduction,' 44).
The microorganic, shape-shifting appearance of some of the compo-
nents, along with the uniform grid of cell-like blocks to the lower right
of the painting, suggest yet another analogy for the painting, reinforced
by the rectangle of the canvas: that of a microscope slide showing slices
of plant and animal life seen in cross section, as Bernier's use of 'mi-
croscopique' suggests. Even more, given the dynamic, organic morph-
ing of shapes, the painting seems like a living 'culture,' cultivated in a
rectangular dish, displaying the very building blocks of life and the vi-
tal forces infusing them. In this sense Pellan can be said to offer us a
'microcosmic' vision of life, at once different from yet akin in scope to
the 'cosmic' vision of Borduas, both visions leading us away from finite
reality towards the infinite depths or expanses of the imagination. 18
From this 'microscopic' perspective the garden may be further read
metacritically as a metaphor for Pellan's approach to art, where paint-
ing, like an organism, is reduced to its most basic elements - building
blocks and forces - in this case: colour, rendered material by paint and
the substances mixed with it to lend it texture and form (albeit shifting),
its liberal application engendering other forms to create an 'organic'
whole of tremendous vitality; and line, underpinning the scattered ele-
ments, like ligaments or filaments joining various clusters into net-
works to give them near geometric structure. Indeed, Lefebvre uses
botanical vocabulary to describe both Pellan's approach to the act of
painting - 'The painter selects a portion of the soil and concentrates on
the material, He examines it, turns it tenderly and it becomes unctuous,
palpitating and fertile' ( Pellan , 151) - and Pellan's approach to creation
and creativity in general: 'This is how the great work of the painter is
carried out in all the complexity and unity of a living organism where
the chains of cells regenerate indefinitely in the tissues as a result of the
assimilation of essential nourishment into a vital fluid which assures
the growth and proper functioning of all the organs … The organs,
which here are called line, colour, matter' ('Introduction,' 47).
Pellan's technique, based on 'transformation and reconstruction,' ac-
cording to Buchanan (4), is more studied and self-conscious than that of
Borduas, but every bit as free and liberating (for the work, the artist,
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