Outwards and Inwards: A Feature on Canadian Artist Gabriel Rioux

Review by Sarah Bilson

Review by Sarah Bilson

Emerging Quebec painter Gabriel Rioux defies our perception of time, space and the constraints of inner knowledge. His harmonious, yet visually tense paintings offer us a meticulously codified window into the artist’s imagination and subconscious mind.

Rioux’s intuitive works, full of symbolism, present an almost canonical composition of spaces delineated by a neat line and a subtle change of shade. Through the depiction of windows and libraries, the artist underlines the infinite possibilities within a limited psycho-geographical space: a room, a night sky, a world of possibility. Libraries, often resurfacing in his paintings, are symbols that point to the diversity of knowledge and wide spectrum of personal expression. Windows – in a similar vein, give out onto a dimension that extends intriguingly beyond the viewer’s gaze, presenting us with a chance to construct limitless possibilities within our minds.

After completing a degree in literature, yet marked by a deep disappointment in the academic world, Rioux turned his attention to visual art and painting. Drawing on music, literature and the skate world for inspiration, Rioux integrates personal mythologies with his overarching worldview.

Although Rioux deeply resists the “intellectualization” of his paintings, preferring to focus on their instinctive and sensuous qualities instead, his enigmatic style lends itself well to deep thinking and philosophizing. The artist playfully fluctuates between chaos and ambiguity, revelation and concealment, codification and absurdity. He further emphasizes the mysterious nature of his creations through curious combinations of mixed media on canvas, leading viewers to question not only the meaning of the paintings themselves, but also the materiality and textures that embody them.

Gabriel Roux will present his paintings at the next group exhibition “Small Formats” from November 16 to January 5 at Archive Contemporary Art Gallery.

The gallery will also host Rioux’s first solo exhibition in January 2020.