LIVES AND WORKS:
THE MULTIPLE GAZE
As former curator-director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; former curator of Canada’s largest and most important corporate art collection, the Lavalin Collection, since acquired in its entirety by Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art; as independent curator of significant Canadian and international exhibitions; as former art critic for Montreal’s major diaries (English and French); as writer for art magazines (In USA, Germany and Canada) and exhibition catalogues; as two terms President of the Association of Quebec’s Museums, it is my pleasure to state that the artist CERJ LALONDE, whose work I have followed for some twenty years, qualifies as a major artist, both nationally and internationally, on account of the quality of his work and the recognition it has received.
His work is highly valued for its original content, as well as for the integrity of its execution. His artwork and paintings have been acquired over the years by both public and private collections; they have also been chosen for exhibitions organized to show new and significant trends in visual art and painting.
Leo Rosshandler / I.A.C.A, I.C.O.M., A.M.Q.
Black & white
photography of the artist:
THE MULTIPLE GAZE
It can be said that Lalonde works as a team with himself, not only to
develop his artwork, but also to sharpen his personal ideas about
contemporary culture, trends, criticism and, more importantly, as a
critic to the art system’s meritocracy. Lalonde is putting a lot of
time, energy and thought into his new media and technology productive
structure, where he can directly address his issues, mainly those
regarding the art world.
Lalonde, the painter / The Fine Artist
Lalonde holds many layers as an artist. His years of experience as a painter and thirst for art history and critique have helped him develop into a consciously literate artist. Formally, his domain of techniques ranges from drawing, printing, and primarily acrylic painting by means of a wild contrasting palette. But more than any type of formalism, Lalonde´s work is a strong statement about painting itself and how he approaches abstraction from a conceptual viewpoint. His paintings celebrate the power and meaning of color and texture, the imperative voice of contrast and stridence, and the million of possible solutions for a white canvas. I also see in his artwork a psychoanalytical interpretation of art, and a curiously unintentional approach to oriental philosophy appears throughout his multi sized body of work.
In many of his canvas, the presence of the square has been integrated as
an element of equilibrium and unity to the soul of the artwork itself.
Lalonde is specifically interested in the qualities of painting as a
media: “What Painting and only Painting can do”. Of all arts, painting
is perhaps the most intimate and personal of art languages. It reaches
the viewer at a last phase, in the gallery, or museum, or exhibition
New media's and technology
In his installations and performances such as THE NO SHOW, and
WORKING TO BECOME RICH AND FAMOUS SO YOU CAN LOVE ME FOREVER,
Lalonde discusses the notion of the self and identity, the artist as a
social figure, and the severe critique of the contemporary art system,
and society at large. He questions the validity and the ideology of the
curatorial establishment, the marketing methods, and the issues of the
self - as he queries the conventional paradigm of the artist.
In SEEING, a photographic installation that can be considered as a milestone in his work, he presents a dark room that has many different sized eyes that are looking at the viewer. An interesting aspect of Lalonde’s digital work is the presence of a perpetual reflection that not only shows the act of seeing itself, but in a more profound way it presents the subconscious mind of the viewer. He inverts his role of an artist and establishes a dialogue with the unconscious of the spectator, both through his installations and digital art work. He talks directly from the anonymity of the Internet to the subconscious of the viewer with phrases like HI!, WHERE ARE YOU? Or I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW YOU. Lalonde suggests a dialogue of affection and proximity with the anonymous viewer. He cries out for attention, asks questions, and asks for small reflections to be answered silently by the person who is on the other side of the computer, establishing a metaphor for the notion of the multiplicity of the self. But above all, the artist states that communication as art is always subjective.
Last but not least, we should briefly acknowledge Lalonde´s work in public places, within the streets of Miami’s main art areas, mainly the Wynwood and Design Districts. Lalonde has taken over the front of galleries, sidewalks, and walls with the graffiti ://eye_luv-you:)), the eye installation WHO IS LOOKING AT WHO and the FREE sign.
These street interventions are a courageous attempt of blasting pedestrians’ consciousness to an impermanent moment of reflection. By this strategy, he is inserting human condition to human creation, relating in a logical discourse; human being makes art, human being sees art, therefore, art sees us, and art is human. Why does he do it? Who is it addressed to? The probable answer is to all of us and to him. Cerj Lalonde has decidedly captured a huge space of silence that historically has isolated the artist from the spectator of the artwork. As silent as painting itself can be, it is as loud as his digital work and public space interventions are.
It would not be fair to separate all these different facets as an artist, as if we were speaking of different persons. Lalonde´s whole body of work is connected through formal elements that appear in any media he uses. The square, for example, is an important image, as well as the silhouetted eye that appears in paintings, installations, graphics, and throughout his Web pages. Lalonde formally uses certain elements as creating a personal specific language that conveys additional meaning to every art piece he develops.
Amalia Caputo is a curator and a contributor to the publications Extracamara Magazine, Caracas and Arte Al Dia International, Miami. She was born in Caracas,Venezuela. She holds a Bachelor of Art and Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where she graduated with honors in 1988. In 1995 she received a Master of Arts in Photography at New York University and the International Center of Photography. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Caracas, Barcelona, Mexico City, New York and Miami. She lives and works in Miami, Florida.