P LEASE TOUCH! I want my paintings to be touched. I love to touch everything, so I guess it makes sense that my artworks have an important tactile component with textures. Go ahead, don't worry they're well protected with a thick coat of eco-friendly epoxy resin.
Most often I integrate twigs, leafs, recycled glass or anything that inspires me. I want to give these things (that are considered worthless) a new status, a new meaning, a new life; by making them stars on an artwork. These dead leaves are now admired instead of just being ignored or taken for granted. Isn't this how we treat nature in general, ignoring it and taking it for granted? Shouldn't we respect nature more? Shouldn't we respect ourselves more?
An important theme for me is the Buddhist notion of impermanence. These dead elements of nature that I use, represent for me the fact that nothing remains unchanged forever. Everything is mutating in the cycle of life: development, decay, death then reassembly. Nothing is static. By conserving these elements of nature in resin as “contemporary fossils” I try to illustrate this illusion we have that we can prevent change. Status quo does not exist, and it is very painful when we cling to the past and don't accept this fact.
At the end of 2008, I moved to Costa Rica with my husband and set up my studio in the mountain jungle over looking the Pacific. I was seeking a new lifestyle, simpler, closer to nature and the experience of another culture. My new environment has seeped into my creation. The tropical colors of course but the culture too. I was also confronted by abandoned dogs. I rescued and adopted 8 and I do volunteer work in the community to help the dogs (and people too!). One thing I came to admire about dogs is the way they truly live in the present. I try to practice the art of fully being in the now when I'm painting. What this can mean for me in practrice is that often starting with a good idea, it will have changed completely by the end of the process! I allow new things to happen even if not planned. I try to stay in a state that lets me recognize and appreciate what “IS” and take new risks, explore the boundaries of balance and the perception of beauty.
I try to bring to my paintings, all the joy, freedom, color and beauty of that happiest of all countries that inspires me so much, my new home, Costa Rica.
Chantal P. Durocher