Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
the tree, however, is considerably more polyvalent, representing the
family in Charles Guérin , variety in Croquis laurentiens , solitude in La
montagne secrète , origins in Le premier jardin , and creativity in Reflets de la
nuit , as well as a similar array of themes in the paintings of Légaré,
Brymner, Leduc, Richard, and Borduas. The more distant mountains
carry additional connotations, like freedom ( Menaud ), the quest for
identity ( La montagne ), and creative energy (Riopelle), while the ever-
dangerous river ( Menaud , La montagne ) further suggests the passage of
time ( Angéline , Suzor-Coté) and, more surprisingly, a certain hybridity
owing to the mixture of waters as rivers mingle or encounter the sea
( Charles Guérin , Le premier jardin , Ode au Saint-Laurent ). The change of
seasons sets the rhythm for 'rural' novels like Jean Rivard and Maria
Chapdelaine , while further conveying the changing emotions of protagon-
ists like Charles Guérin and Angéline de Montbrun. Even more than the
beauty of autumn, winter proves especially fascinating and prevalent in
French-Canadian works, serving as a source for exploring light for the
Canadian Impressionists, as a constant danger in Maria Chapdelaine ,
Menaud, maître-draveur , and La montagne secrète , but also as a rallying
point for strategies of renewal, as in Mon pays , Le chandail , Les aurores
montréales , and the works of current Charlevoix painters like Côté,
Bergeron, and Leclerc . The notions of change, quest, and regeneration
inherent in the passage of the seasons apply especially to the mysteri-
ous North, as elusive for the French Canadian ( Jean Rivard , La terre , La
montagne , Mon pays ) as is the frontier West for the American.
In general, nature and natural phenomena were traditionally repre-
sented as givens until the mid-twentieth century, when a radical recon-
figuration initiated by Borduas and the automatists led artists to
interiorize and reconceive phenomena like the tree (Borduas, Gauvreau),
the river (Lapointe), and the mountain (Riopelle), effecting a liberation
of natural forces and a renewal of culture itself, including verbal and
visual expression.
At the other pole stand images related to culture, which can involve
places that are constructed, like the family homestead in La terre pater-
nelle , Charles Guérin , and Mon pays ; controlled, like the garden in Jean
Rivard , Angéline de Montbrun , and Le premier jardin ; or reconfigured, like
that very garden, interiorized, as in the works of Pellan and Giguère.
Among prominent visual icons, fields, fences, and farms evoke the
struggle of agriculture against nature, the steeple reminds the viewer
not only of one's religion but also of one's village, while the cross and
the rock serve as sites of possession and memory in several early short
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