Born in Moncton, Yvon Gallant has lived there most of his life, except for the two years he spent in Montreal (1987-1989). Life and art are intrinsically linked in the visual stories of Gallant’s vibrant paintings.
One of the first generation of graduates from the visual arts department at l’Université de Moncton in 1976, Yvon Gallant’s Acadianness found its own unique form and style of artistic expression when he was still a student. While absorbing the teachings of flamboyant modernism and contemporary art history, Gallant naturally gravitated to the familiar popular ‘folk’ forms and sensibilities that surrounded his upbringing and were part of his everyday life. Storytelling, along with its myths and superstitions; family rituals; social occasions, people and friends around him were ready-made subjects for his paintings. His keen eye, ever-watchful, quickly picked out the nuances of a good story – often spiced with wicked humour, parody, and playfulness – and cut through pretensions and mannerisms to sketch out a picture. Everything and anything was potentially a subject for his paintings and he freely embellished and decorated them, like all tales inevitably are.
Amassed side-by-side since the mid-1970s, these visual stories by Yvon Gallant stand as a collective album of contemporary Acadian life, including lively portraits of the Moncton artistic community (many of whom served as accommodating models), as well as a diary of Gallant’s own life (aches and pains included).
Significant hallmarks of his style are the featureless ‘blank’ faces of his figures; exaggerated hands; and the black outlined images enclosing shapes of colors with their striking overlays of tonalities and textures.