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painter, winter and snow provide exceptional opportunities for explor-
ing spatial organization and expressing its plastic language ... And if
the artist uses the same sort of brushwork in the entire painting the
impression of two-dimensionality and planeity can be emphasized.) 29
Christian Bergeron's Village en hiver from 2010 (plate 15) also dis-
plays an architectural structuring of space, although more explicitly so
than in Côté's pochade . The base image, a village nestled into the hills
bordering a river, resembles not only that of Côté's setting and those
of Bergeron's more traditional paintings, but corresponds to the very
archetype of the Quebec landscape, with a cultural place enclosed
within a natural space. Here, warm bands of yellow and orange alter-
nate with cold bands of blue and white, rising diagonally from lower
left to upper right - intersected by two counter-diagonal lines that
serve to balance the composition - until they meet the deep blue hills
and mountains, also ascending diagonally, which form a bay for the
village. Set at the same angle and homogenized by similar shapes,
sizes, tones, and colours, the houses follow that same diagonal slope
until it reaches the church steeple, which rises above them, much as
the peak looms over the mountains. The upward thrust of the steeple
is matched not only by that of the houses, but also by the shafts ex-
tending downward from them, like traces of the houses' geometrical
shells creating vertical bars that intersect with the diagonal bands to
form a grid of line and colour. Indeed, it is precisely these vertical
lines, striating the bottom three-quarters of the frontal plane of the
canvas, which break with traditional representation and cause the
viewer to question their visual meaning.
In one sense, these trailing parallel lines may replicate the artist's
memory of the buildings' forms as his eye scans the scene from top to
bottom, a sort of retinal after-image imposed onto the landscape. In this
way, Bergeron simply renders visible the lines of force emanating from
the predominant shape and position of the houses. In another sense,
however, the lateral surfaces of the house walls are also projected onto
the landscape, generating a sense of three-dimensional space and vol-
ume that enable the painter to see the land forms, like the buildings,
geometrically and from slightly different vantage points, thereby free-
ing the painter to experiment with the variations in colour and light
that lie on each side of the 'crests' created on the surface of the canvas.
In both cases, the technique implies a dynamic sense of perception and
painting, which involves seeing the same scene (houses and land) at
different moments in time and from different vantage points in space.
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