Montreal artist Renée Duval is showing her work in Vancouver for the first time since her graduation from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1986. For several years she has painted large, photo-realist paintings of tree branches and leaves against skies. The images are meditative and slightly mysterious, with great visual impact when seen grouped together in a gallery for an exhibit.
New works emphasize the view of skies beside and through the branches rather than the trees themselves. They are gorgeous skies, with lush, blooming clouds full of depth and colour nuance what writer David Elliott called beautifully modulated glazes giving the paintings an epic sense of light and space. There is also an obsessive, passionate fixation on the patterns and details of foliage that encourages an intimate, voyeuristic sensibility. The dark, almost-silhouetted foliage carries just a faint hue of green in the fading evening light. Duval's spare, almost Asian-inspired cropping enhances the physical presence of the finelyrendered canopies, especially in a painting like It Used To Be.
Renée Duval graduated with honours from Emily Carr and earned an M.F.A. at Concordia University, Montreal (1991). She has received numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts as well as the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and abroad, including Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary; Angell Gallery, Toronto; and Galerie Art Mûr, Montréal.