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while contemporary painting makes visible use of the visual language
of the paint and brushwork to highlight its own techniques and tactics.
Writing and painting do not merely serve as records of the past, but as
means of renewal and regeneration for artists like Laure Conan,
Gabrielle Roy, Gatien Lapointe, Monique Proulx, Bruno Côté, Christian
Bergeron, and Raynald Leclerc. In Angéline de Montbrun , for example,
the character's act of writing can be said to liberate her self, her author,
their sex, and their nation from the stifling constraints of their 'first cul-
ture' with its ingrained and static traditions.
In addition to the transformative effects of memory and art noted by
Dumont, the works explored here themselves point to further factors
for cultural regeneration, which can, again, be grouped into the main
categories of analysis used in this topic: exposure to nature and contact
with other cultures.
Although nature, with its set of correlative icons and themes, can be
depicted as an enemy to be conquered, and dangerous at that, it is also
seen, in numerous texts and paintings, as regenerative. In La terre pater-
nelle , for example, by leaving the family farm to become a voyageur in
the pays d'en haut (the North), Charles is able to free himself from the
paternal yoke, strengthen his own sense of identity, then restore the lost
family property. Maria Chapdelaine's encounter with François Paradis,
who brings with him the spell of the wilderness, instils in her a new
'magic' vision that extends beyond that of either parent. In the works of
Borduas, the automatists, their descendants, and their admirers, the
tree, the forest, the river, and the mountain inspire their creators with a
new invigorated vision of culture. Moreover, the revelatory voices al-
luded to earlier nearly all have their roots in nature. In a dream set in an
immense forest, Jean Rivard hears a voice that prompts him to pursue
his conquest. While staring out the window at the forest, Maria hears
voices, which, according to the narrator, speak clearer in the midst of
the great North woods, and the first voice evokes the beauties of sea-
sonal changes. In Menaud, maître-draveur , Le Lucon first hears the voice
of freedom in the depths of the virgin forest, where 'dreams still reside,'
while Marie's view of the distant mountains from her hilltop vantage
point evokes a similar discovery of freedom also accompanied by a
voice. The trees and the forest speak to the poet Hurbur and the reader
Corvelle in Gauvreau's Reflets, , while the poet listens to the river's voice
in Lapointe's Ode au Saint-Laurent . Pierre's dialogue with his secret
mountain instils a solidarity with nature that leads to his discovery of
his natural self, then to his solidarity with the universe and with others.
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