By Bill Staubi
There is something instantly appealing about the work of Ottawa artist Marc Dubois that invites the eye to linger over his images and explore. Whether painting in oil or using graphite or ink, Marc’s carefully composed landscapes, portraits, or still life works hold you; gently, but commandingly. The images are tight and focused, free of distractions.
Marc’s canvasses show a classical attention to technique with powerful contemporary references. For the month of June, Marc will be exhibiting a series of still life paintings at The Art House Café at 555 Somerset Street West.
The paintings in this show feature common everyday items, familiar friends in our lives. But, as Marc explains, the still life “…provides a vehicle to contemplate the human condition. The piece of fruit or produce, or loaf of bread is finite, organic and corruptible. The containers, the vase, the plastic bag, the tin-foil, have an element of the infinite, and will clearly outlast the organic element. So flowers in a vase or fruit wrapped in plastic become a metaphor for the physical and the spiritual.”
In Marc’s minimalist style, the subject of the work is the feature on the canvas unadorned by unnecessary props. Under his practiced eye, a plastic bag of apples raises the question of whether the things we wrap ourselves in hold the group together or marks them as separate. Through his work, Marc ponders whether “…the fruit or bread, isolated on the canvas, reflects the isolation that we feel even though many of us today now live in urban areas or have access to alienating ‘social’ media?” In an era of identity politics and social change, his work challenges us to consider whether the things we erect to protect “us” also confine us and limit us in ways we hadn’t considered.
With these subtle layers to his work, Marc’s very affordable pieces appeal to a broad range of interests. Just as it offers some deep questions to consider, his work is highly relatable for its visual beauty. While it speaks to contemporary social and spiritual issues it is timeless. The restraint Marc employs in painting the images is what gives the viewer something familiar that contains something unique.
Opening June 1st the show will run until June 30th during normal café business hours. There will be a vernissage on June 13th from 7pm–10pm at which you’ll have an opportunity to chat with Marc. Visit thearthousecafe.ca or Facebook for times and updates.