Michel Le Roux
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“I insist on using my entire body to paint, without hesitation, in a single go. I love weaving a web of spirals and scrolls, but above all, I focus on the essentials. I have chosen to paint the plant world while avoiding strict representation. I keep only a few reference points to guide the eye and heart down the passageways of emotions concealed in nature. I dive in with the dual stubbornness of pleasure. I hope to discover the deepest secrets.”
Born in 1950 into a family that viewed creativity as a means of expression as well as earning a living, Michel LeROUX was exposed to art at an early age. His father, supporting the family as a lettering artist, frequently brought Michel on jobs and allowed him to assist, opening up the world of art to him forever. With this encouragement, Michel would explore various artistic endeavors, however, many years would pass before he would attempt his first picture.
In 1975, LeROUX enrolled in the Institut des arts graphiques in Montreal. Before finishing his coursework he was offered a job as a professor of calligraphy, perspective, and lettering. Finding it difficult to teach what seemed to be instinctual to himself, LeROUX was forced to dissect his innate unerring eye, steady hand, sense of color, perspective, and understanding of composition. After three years at the university, LeROUX left teaching to open his own signage company, a long time dream of his. Although the company proved to be very successful, gaining impressive clients such as the Grand Prix in Montreal, LeROUX would make a decision once again to change careers, this time after ten years, finally obeying the call to paint.
Time spent working on projects such as the Grand Prix proved to be imperative experiences for LeROUX. Having worked in small studio quarters, LeROUX learned how to internalize the image of the work, since it was impossible for him to see a sign in its entirety and could only view it in sections. Relying purely on instinct and the acquired skill of retaining the finished work in his head, the lettering approach influenced LeROUX's style and honed his concentration.
Straying little from a primary and secondary color palate, LeROUX's use of simple vibrant hues capture the purity of nature. His confident and energetic brushstrokes make his paintings more than just a visual escape, transporting the viewer into the forest to listen to the rustling of the leaves or the water rushing downstream. Upon closer inspection of LeROUX's work, the forest scenes become abstracted into a series of brushstrokes changing direction around the canvas, occasionally interrupted by solid umber verticals. These hints of representation become clear as one steps away from the picture, leaving just enough room in the movement of the paint for the imagination to draw conclusions for the eye. As in nature itself, while studying Michel LeROUX's paintings, each observer is permitted to an experience all his own.
“…when I tackle a painting, I first compose it in my mind. Then I execute it without losing the thread of my idea and without stepping back from it, no matter the size of format. Just as in our little lettering studio, I keep the final work in my mind’s eye and avoid stopping, since I like painting to be done spontaneously” -Michel LeROUX