Photographer Gabor Szilasi et painter France Jodoin

8 – WESTMOUNT INDEPENDENT – October 14-15, 2008

Westmount Art Scene

By Heather Black

This month, the Visual Arts Centre is featuring 20 photos of family life taken by Westmount photographer Gabor Szilasi. Enigmatic lighting is the dominant feature of Szilasi’s artistry. But the same can be said of France Jodoin’s atmospheric seascape paintings at Collins Lefebvre Stoneberger.

Gabor Szilasi stands behind one of his photographs at the vernissage and book launch for FAMILLE at the McClure Gallery on October 9. The exhibition runs until November 1.
Photo: Robert J. Galbraith.

Szilasi at the McClure

The Gabor Szilasi exhibition is in honour of his 80th year. Celebrated for his portraiture and documentary photos, the theme of the McClure Gallery exhibit is “Famille.” With over 20 black and white photographs – not previously exhibited or published – Szilasi captures the intimacy of family life with wife Doreen Lindsay and daughter Andrea as fleeting sensations within balanced compositions of light and dark.

In “Mont Saint Hilare” the photographer appears in the right-hand corner; in the background, wife Doreen melds with nature’s leaves. Andrea as teen is central, luminous and clearly the focal point. A photo, taken in 1976, of a younger Andrea – her eye obscured by her hand – is particularly contemplative. Another – a playful pose of mother and child framed against a brass bedstead – is almost angelic. A storyteller at heart, Szilasi works his magic from his home darkroom to create images of family that all can enjoy.

A publication of 37 photographs also entitled “Famille” with text by gallery director Victoria LeBlanc, art historian Hedwidge Asselin, and daughter Andrea accompanies the exhibit. An important talent, Szilasi’s images of Quebec in the 70s –– individuals or rural kitchen settings and country stores – influenced many young photographers. A round-table discussion with his family will be held on Thursday, October 23 at 7 pm, at the Visual Arts Centre, 350 Victoria (514.488.9558).

France Jodoin "Shores Are Empires"

Jodoin at Collins Lefebvre Stoneberger

France Jodoin’s abstract landscapes capture the wild, emotive sea off Newfoundland’s rugged shoreline. In “A Story of Race, Passion and Glory”, two ships course through apocalyptic sweeps of paint recreating sea and surf. A painterly alchemy – of aquamarine blues, seaweed ochres – defines a shoreline set against a crimson sky

Like the sea, Jodoin’s art is wet and fluid. Stimulated by imagery, music and poetry, the Quebec artist paints intuitively, often starting with colour. In “Earthliness under clawed toes” a black-winged, fish hawk lands as waves crash against black rocks. Dramatic in the use of light and dark, the osprey – like the North Atlantic – is menacing yet mythic. Transporting the viewer to her cottage in rugged Torres Cove, the sea’s destructive, yet creative, force is captured.

In “Shores are Empires”, a monumental oil on canvas influenced by Turner, saltlike washes define a sea of conquest. Painted in gun-metal green, it recalls Toynbee’s comment: “Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbour.” The result is an ephemeral seascape, calm but powerful. The vernissage will be held on Thursday, October 16 – the artist will be present – at Collins Lefebvre Stoneberger, 4928 Sherbrooke (514.481.2111).

The art of dark and light

Chiaroscuro – the balance of light and dark – sets the composition in both photography and painting. But the images of Gabor Szilasi and France Jodoin appeal, as light and dark continue to challenge and define the other. Balanced at times delicately, at others boldly, light and dark create atmosphere and beauty, forging our interest and imagination.