Chantal Rousseau:
“The Canadian Disaster Series”

Third Avenue Gallery, Vancouver
June 4 - 26

Chantal Rousseau
Chantel Rousseau, Canadian Disaster Series (1999)
oil on canvas

Chantal Rousseau is an artist to watch carefully over the next few years. With a 1994 diploma from Dawson College in Montreal and a 1997 graduation from the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, Rousseau has now had three solo exhibitions and participated in 18 group shows.

Sheer numbers alone cannot account for her predicted success. Her oil paintings on relatively small panels are extremely provocative and unforgettable. In the current series, Rousseau has the technical capability and the imaginative capacity to pull off believable, life-like scenes which are only too likely to happen in real life. Such "Canadian Disasters" as the road-kill of magnificent wild animals or an avalanche on a dark winter highway are all too common.

Whether portraying natural or human-made disasters, in many paintings she captures that transitional moment between imminence and outcome. This narrative approach offers the viewer a relentless series of emotional charges rather than catharsis. With earlier works in shows with titles like "Bad Boy Paintings" and "The Point is Queer", Rousseau is obviously not shy to take on less comfortable and non-traditional themes of realist painting.

© Mia Johnson