Robert Deschênes is a multidisciplinary artist working mostly as a painter. He realizes expressionist’s artworks for depicting water and its movements. The artist creates lyrical spaces by portraying abstract calligraphic characters using automatist gesture.
Fluidity and lightness arises from Deschênes’ compositions; they remind daydream while also confronting the spectator. Bright and luminous colors structure the artist’s artworks. Dynamic traits and paint cast furrow the canvas giving the impression of moving lines. Robert Deschênes fixes on canvas light explosions resembling fireworks or raging fires.
Metaphor is an important part of Deschênes’ reflection. The concepts of evolution, the origin of life and human’s complexity are often underlying the pictorial representation. His pictures emanates from the past and from an intuitive language. They illustrate the relations between the artist and society, with his personal environment and with others. Deschênes is inspired by the Japanese culture of Edo’s dynasty. He is especially interested by Zenga, a calligraphic and pictorial style created by Buddhist monks during the 17th Century. Throughout his works, we can sense the strength of hazard, as well as the energy of despair and the power of the imagination, both giving life to the invisible.
Robert Deschênes was born in Montréal, in 1950. Since 1974, he constructs theatre sets for Radio-Canada (Madame Bovary), Gilles Carle (Manon Last Call), Le Théâtre du Rideau Vert (Cantique des Cantiques), l’Opéra de Québec (Seraglio) and for the Place-des-Arts of Montréal (La flûte enchantée). In 1975, he opens Galerie Gueul’Art while, still developing his artistic practice. In 1983, at the Old Quebéc Festival, he realizes, for the organization Carbone 14, a fresco named Baby. He also signs the scenic realization of the play Le Rail presented at L’Espace Libre (Montréal). In 1984, he creates an installation made of more than a hundred painted cars called Océan large, also for Carbone 14. In 1985, he gets his artistic recognition with the painting Charges d’éléphants.
Between 1985 and 1989, Deschênes lives and works in France. The artist exposes his artworks in his workshop (Quais de la Loire, in Paris) and at L’Espace contemporain de la Bastille, La Délégation culturelle du Québec à Paris, l’Atelier Place d’Art (Paris) and at Galerie Michel Guinle in Lyon. A retrospective of his works related to cars is also organized the same year in Tours. In 1987, monumental artworks and a series of performances (Car/casse) are conceived for an exhibition at Château Fontenay-les-Bris (R.A.T.P.). Also in 1987, one of Deschênes’ performances created especially for Canal + is presented in Paris during the Winter Circus. By the end of 1989, Robert Deschênes comes back to Québec. He writes À l’heure des chiens sans laisse, an unpublished book. Since 1999, the artist begins to experiment with abstraction. His artworks are exhibited mostly in Québec at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, Galerie Bernard, Galerie Récréation and at Magog-Art contemporain.