JEAN PAUL RIOPELLE / BONNIE BAXTER. TAMING THE BEAST
February 2 to April 23, 2023
Curator : Suzanne Pressé
Print-making, that art of the multiple, requires meticulous work, with multiple variables. The humidity of the paper, the viscosity of the ink and the pressure of the press have an effect on the final result of each work. Printmakers must tame each variable like wild beasts.
Jean Paul Riopelle was a painter, sculptor and printmaker. Animal motifs are a subject found in his art. Representations of white geese, owls, game and domestic and farm animals can be seen in various forms in his work. He creates frenzy in a confusion of feathers. He paid close attention to his bestiary, observing animal behaviour. An inexhaustible source of invention, fauna make astonishing associations and movements possible. Lines become form and animals come to life. He was always concerned with the durability and the quality of the materials he used.
Bonnie Baxter is an acclaimed interdisciplinary artist. The prints, sculptures and digital works in her series RatKind depict the figure of the Rat, that animal which arouses feelings of disgust, fear and hatred, giving rise to wariness and violence. Her hybrid characters – humans with Rat heads – live together in complete safety. Baxter invites us to reflect on fear and hatred of the Other’s difference. She urges empathy, an open mind and the integration of cultures, identities, genders and languages in order to build a tolerant world. Each winning the other over is the key to reading RatKind.
Bonnie Baxter founded her print art studio, the Atelier du Scarabée, in Quebec in 1982. From 1985 to 1993, she was the master printmaker of all the engravings by Jean Paul Riopelle. Together, they developed creative strategies and mastered the variables of printmaking. Together, they tamed the beast.