Faced with a challenge, Marc St-Jean embarks without reserve into the adventure, unrelenting until his objective is attained.
Under- neath his sober look and apparent calm disposition, coils exuberant energy that unleashes itself whenever a precise goal is in sight. Being an economist by training, the first half of his life is spent in the financial world, a rather arid, cerebral and analytical sphere of activity where creativity holds very little place. Serious and res- ponsible, he first wishes to secure his economic foundation before daring to take the vertiginous leap into a world that, much as the overhang of a cliff, attracts him almost magnetically while being scared of falling off. Hence, when he is finally able to invest himself completely and exclusively into his painting, his need to express himself explodes into as many colours as his until now bridled pas- sion is intense. This newfound freedom enchants him and he starts painting at a frenetic rhythm to feed the multiple galleries that ex- hibit his work and fill the many requests received from art lovers.
Initially, he tries his hand at painting landscapes and abstract works, but when he adds the presence of human figures onto his canvases they soon become an integral part of his signature style. As he loves being in direct contact with the public and with other artists, he participates in a great number of symposiums, through which he starts gaining increasing renown. “I certainly was not expecting such rapid success, and I was overwhelmed by all the love shown to me. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I worked inces- santly.” Wishing to preserve the full scope of his imagination, Marc St-Jean eventually slows-down the rhythm and henceforth dedicates himself to doing what comes naturally, without obligation or expectations to be met. The self-taught painter mostly fea- tures in his compositions characters that brim with happiness at being in harmonious rapport with one another. “My figures are never sad or alone; they show pleasure in being together, in sharing, which is an essential part of any relationship.”
The painter’s authentic sensibility is noticeably apparent in rather candid scenes where young girls and romantically inclined la- dies, although modern, display their traditional femininity by wearing pretty décolletés, delicate jewellery, lovely hats or ribbons in their hair. While loving couples are frequently at the forefront, his paintings also feature gatherings of friends or family members, or even sporting events, often depicted in a humorous way. In short, celebratory occasions as varied as life can offer such as shared meals, marriages, anniversaries of all kinds, as well as more magical intimate moments between two people. The ambiance is always happy; moroseness is absent even when it rains as it is evident that the multicoloured umbrellas are there only in passing, optimistically predicting clearer weather to come.
Although some plays of shadow may be detected, the vibrant colours, uniformly applied, contribute to the ever present joyful at- mosphere that reigns everywhere, a parcel of gaiety being attribu- ted to each element of the composition. ‘Joie de vivre’ explodes throughout the simple shapes while the smooth non textured surface lets the pupil slide effortlessly from one line to the other. The artist also carefully selects titles for his works as they constitute an added element, one that will complete the overall effect for each of his creations. “It’s important for me that the titles be in accordance with the emotional charge of the work. They are means of understanding that contribute to the elaboration of individual scenarios.”
So that spectators may perceive in them a portion of their own history, his somewhat, at first glance, naive beings remain timeless, harbouring neutral, lightly sketched, facial features. Interpretations hence may be multiplied according to the spectator’s own feelings and souvenirs, and welcome whatever personal reverie. The artist has no intention to specifically depict anyone in particular but ra- ther wishes for everyone to be drawn into the painting. “I love dis- cussing my works with people to find out what they see in them, what emotion they feel, what sparks in their memory upon viewing them.” Being enlightened with someone else’s vision may gear the creator towards further self-discovery and lead him to perceive as- pects of his own subconscious as revealed through someone else’s experience. This type of dialogue between mental picture and rea- lity, where borders draw closer together through sentiment, re- sembles the one that exists between perception of self and of the other, bearing witness to those links that unite us as humanity. Marc St-Jean adopts a visual language that is boundless and favours tacit relationships among pure unknowns experiencing a common vibration that is set in matter, mind and heart.
The painter, along with a colleague of his, is presently busy with the organization of the “Lumières sur l’art” symposium that will group some forty artists and will be held in June at Quartier Dix 30 in Brossard. “I am of the opinion that art must become accessible to all, including the part of the population that doesn’t frequent art galleries or other habitual areas of distribution.” Marc St-Jean inc- reasingly favours large formats, as unique pieces but also as dip- tychs or triptychs, which procure him greater satisfaction and helps alleviate his concern for detail. His wish is to be able to combine ever more abstract backgrounds with his well-defined subjects in the foreground, and to continue to amuse himself by placing his characters in various local and foreign environments.[/restrict]
By Lisanne LeTellier