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is no longer bound to hour of day and angle of vision as in Rue Sainte-
Anne (plate 13). To be sure, Leclerc retains and relates a general sense of
tactile differences between stone and metal, between city and river, just
as he conveys the overall luminous quality of a winter's day. However,
texture and light (not to mention colour and form) seem as determined
by their neighbours on the canvas as by their counterparts in reality, as
if, in painting one form, the colour, light, and texture generate the next
one and harmonize them together on the surface of the painting. Thus,
unlike the effect of daylight perceived at a given moment, which tends
to produce zones of light and shadow, often modulated, here Leclerc is
able to use the snow-covered roofs, reflections off the buildings, and
sheets of ice to create patches of light and dark that lend the canvas a
mosaic-like appearance. As Leclerc puts it, 'Je regarde maintenant la lu-
mière qui bouge sur les choses et non les choses elles-mêmes … la plus
pure qui soit, celle qui fait effraction entre deux objets, dans les inter-
stices de la matière.' (in Filion, L'île , 10; I now look at light moving on
things and not at the things themselves … the purest it can be, light that
breaks between two objects, into the interstices of matter.) In short, still
the mainstay of Leclerc's technique, the use of impasto with a palette
knife, liberated from the texture and luminosity of any particular object,
becomes free to explore its own means and expressive potential. The
impasto and the strokes applying it are thus more prominent over the
entire surface of the canvas, as we witness especially in the icy river,
producing a remarkable visual density in the image. Coupled with the
flattening of space devolving from the elevated viewpoint, the texture
thus emphasizes the surface of the canvas, the vision of the artist, and
the technique of the artistry, as much as the subject portrayed.
This reconceptualizing of the painting by no means implies, how-
ever, the disappearance or minimizing of the subject, the cityscape,
but rather its reconfiguration as a totality. In his earlier paintings, the
depiction of the city is limited to fragmentary views: the narrow,
winding rue Saint-Anne, the towering walls of the porte Saint-Louis,
which block the view into the old city; the superimposed facades of
various building parts seen from the parc Montmorency (figure 9.2).
Conscious of this fragmentation of the city, in a recent book showcas-
ing his artistic evolution, Leclerc experiments with broader views
across the Saint Lawrence from the île d'Orléans and from the south
shore. 32 In these cases, a general view is achieved, but at the expense of
particularity: the few recognizable monuments serve as reference
points but don't visually resurrect the rest of the city. In effect, what
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