Geneviève Bilodeau-BlainMontréal, Canada
Born in Île-Perrot, Geneviève Bilodeau-Blain currently lives and works in Montréal. She originally had a strictly scientific scholastic background. Thanks to mentorship, in 2010, she simultaneously began painting and writing poetry in La Rochelle (France). She started by illustrating her poems, then the people she crossed paths with on her initiation voyage. Geneviève returned to Montréal to complete her studies in biology, and with an intention to pursue her artistic and poetic projects. She mixes collage and painting – juggling abstraction and figurative depictions – to illustrate the precarious equilibrium of our ecosystems. Also playing with the microscopic (molecules) and macroscopic (animals), her colour palettes are drawn from old science encyclopedias, which she is keen on cutting up and reworking. In 2017, her first poetry collection, La Cellule Naïve, relating the great storms of life that we have to weather, was published by Éditions OMRI. Skilled with words, acrylic paint and oil pastels, Geneviève is currently working on a figurative watercolour series. She therefore continues to explore different media in her personal interpretation process of the living world.
À propos de l'oeuvre
With a strictly scientific background, in 2010, my research subjects in biology became drawing models. As a self-taught artist, I combine poetry, collage and abstract painting to express the molecular order of things.
I mainly work with oil pastels and acrylic paint, which I integrate with collages. My work fits into the context of bio art. It is mostly created in nature, and involves the animal and plant resources that I come in contact with. Going from the microscopic (plankton) to the macroscopic (sea birds), my work is gentle and contemplative – perhaps in contrast to the epileptic rhythm of cities, and to reconnect with natural inner movements.
Through my work, my ultimate objective is to return to the exploration of science as it was in the 50s: a biological world in which everything was yet to be named and sketched. Scientists like Pierre Dansereau, pillar of ecology in Québec, illustrated nature in the most faithful ways possible for identification purposes. I, in turn, opt for a more personal interpretation of nature, which I convey through painting and collage. I admire the work of our elders, naturalists and/or observers of the natural biotic and abiotic world, who faced adversity on their own. I am nostalgic for the times when science wasn’t yet confined to a laboratory – when it was just there, available to everyone, virgin nature ready to be sketched.
Through my work characterized by pop colours, I offer a poetic interpretation of the precarious equilibrium of the ecosystems of the whole world. We see forms fitting together like molecules, animals becoming hybrids, crosses as locations of chemical reactions… I play with dynamics and use saturated colours in order to call attention to microscopic phenomena. I am also inspired by the colour palettes of old National Geographic magazines, which I then cut up to create these collages, these unusual superimpositions. My collages begin in small format, but are subsequently enlarged to allow for further interventions. Perhaps this is to express the constant shifting of relationships. As a poet, I am also greatly influenced by the haiku literary movement – that is – the challenge of expressing the ephemeral in imagery, in only a few lines or forms.
In conclusion, my practice pushes the limits of ecology through observation in nature. I strive to take down the laboratory walls and juggle with science on paper. Poet of the image above all else, or non-Cartesian scientist who allows herself to be absorbed by the immensity of nature, I oscillate between two worlds. In fact, I have been trying to carve out my place as an artist for many years, so the feeling of impostor is only the engine behind great projects!