“I paint, draw and do collages because it is a passion and I truly love to do it.”
A Humble Beginnings: Nurturing The Artistic Spark
Benoît Tremblay, known in the art world as BENT, hails from the economically modest boroughs of Montreal’s South-West, a birthplace that in 1975, amidst its austerity, nurtured his imagination and sparked his trajectory into art. It was his elder sister who significantly influenced the artist during his formative years, introducing him around the age of 11 and 12, to the transformative works of avant-garde masters like Pollock and Basquiat, as well as Asger Jorn and the vibrant ethos of the CoBrA movement.
Embarking on a formal exploration of his artistic inclinations at 13, he enrolled in a specialized high school course, Art & Communications. Over three years, under the guidance of a notably impactful instructor, Benoît immersed himself in a comprehensive study of art and art history, deepening his understanding of the intricate weave between art and life. Despite a passionate pursuit of artistic knowledge, a tumultuous period during his fourth year led to a pause in his educational trajectory.
Persistently, BENT returned to complete his high school education through a night program, balancing his studies with work at a printing shop during the day. A serendipitous encounter with the enthralling world of literature and poetry came courtesy of another inspiring mentor during this time. The newfound love for the written word melded harmoniously with his existing passion for visual expression, fine-tuning his multifaceted approach to artistry. Through a prism of life’s challenges, learnings, and fortunate discoveries, he crafted a continually evolving and inspiring artistic journey. In every endeavor, the artist finds a way to mirror his experiences, whispering tales of perseverance, discovery, and unabating passion into the very fibre of his creations.
The Path to Recognition: From A Café-Bar to The Esteemed Crystal Racine Gallery
Benoît Tremblay embarked on his artistic journey amidst the comfort and inspiration of his sister’s bygone art workshop, sowing the early seeds of a profound love for painting, drawing, and collage creation. The trail of his creativity meandered to a local café-bar, facilitated by a connection offered by his sibling. At this unassuming yet heartfelt exhibition, he managed to sell two out of the twelve pieces displayed, an affirmation that reverberated with Benoît, kindling a deeper pursuit into his artistic endeavors.
BENT experienced a journey interwoven with both rejections and acceptances, showcasing the compelling allure and perpetually developing story encapsulated within each stroke of his brush. This pathway led to a serendipitous alliance with a Montreal-based gallery owner from the distinguished Crystal Racine gallery. This auspicious collaboration heralded a plethora of opportunities, inaugurating a monumental chapter in BENT’s journey through the artistic sphere.
Over a decade, his creative enclave within the Crystal Racine gallery transformed into a sanctuary for artistic expression, where Benoît curated seven solo and four group exhibitions. Every exhibition emerged as a subtly layered journey, peeling back the layers of human emotions and their intertwining with the omnipresent reality. A peak moment of this era materialized in 2016 with a deeply poignant exhibit titled ‘Creuser le quotidian à s’en arracher les yeux’, which translates to ‘Digging the days until tearing off our eyes’. This exhibit, lauded as a ‘depression imaged poetry show’, gracefully encapsulated the essence of Tremblay’s meticulous scrutiny of the mundane, exploring the profundities of daily life through a lens both melancholy and touching.
Through this exhibit, he bid adieu to the Crystal Racine gallery, bequeathing a legacy of emotionally vibrant and visually stunning works that resonate with the infinite exploration and profound introspection emblematic of his, Benoît Tremblay’s, artistic pursuit.
Abstract Dialogues: Society and Self Through Tremblay’s Lens
Benoît Tremblay initiates a profound and abstract discourse through his artistic creations, masterfully engaging with both societal and political dialogues. He dives deeply into the complexities and intrinsics of human existence and the often-unseen forces that guide our daily interactions and beliefs. Benoît’s works gently and eloquently segue into figurative narratives, primarily through the versatile and expressive medium of collage.
BENT’s resonance with a sentiment, previously vocalized by Bram Van Velde in 2012, revolves around transcending logic through art to serve as a counterpoint to the oppressively tangible aspects of our world. His artistry, textured and refined, is significantly shaped by the influences of acclaimed artists such as Willem de Kooning, Norman Lewis, and Lee Krasner. It is Krasner’s work, ‘The Eye is the First Circle’, which He holds in particular esteem, not only for its rhythmic complexity but also for its notable standing within the Abstract Expressionism movement.
Through the lens of these influences, Benoît meticulously shapes a unique narrative that daringly challenges prevailing norms and conventions. In inviting viewers into a reflective and challenging dialogue, Tremblay hopes to encourage an exploration of the societal frameworks that simultaneously shape and confine our lived experiences, promoting a profound exploration of society and self through his expressive art.
Beyond The Brush: Tremblay’s Expansive Artistic Vocabulary
The realm of artistic mediums intriguingly drew Benoît Tremblay towards painting, reflecting a landscape richly imbued with social and political activations from his early years. Despite being chiefly celebrated for his painterly pursuits, Benoît has navigated through the realms of sculpture and photography. While these ventures have earned him moderate acclaim, he’s also dipped his toes into the world of literature. His studio, a sanctuary of pivotal tools like canvases, paper, oil sticks, and acrylics, not to mention paintbrushes, also welcomes unconventional items such as cement and a hearty radio set. This assortment underlines an embrace of distractions, seen as integral threads in the tapestry of his creative journey.
Currently, BENT is profoundly engaged in an ambitious art monograph project, blending abstract visual narratives with elements of political collage. With this endeavor, Tremblay seeks to convert his vision into a palpable artwork that extends beyond the traditional boundaries of aesthetic expression, entering into a moving socio-political discourse. His amalgamation of abstract and political themes not only validates his ongoing evolution as an artist but also encapsulates the variegated experiences shaping both individual and collective human trajectories.