Richard Montpetit was born in Montreal in 1950. As the son of the artist Rolland Montpetit, he was soon involved in the art world. The end of the seventies finds him painting in an impressionistic style, mainly landscapes, and he later diversifies his subjects, due to his many séjours painting in Mexico, France, Italy, Portugal, Morocco and Dominican Republic. He adopts small-size sketches where the subtlety of colours and the accuracy of light render the heart of the matter. In time, streets scenes start to become his preferred subject. His compositions, despite a contemporary urban reality, are always attracted by light . He studies variations though seasons, night and day, and captures the effects of different luminous sources such as car lights, street lamps, shops windows, and neon signs. All of these notes bring one into the precise mood of the moment and make one feel that he is there, present. It is a nostalgic wandering through the streets of Montreal where he follows people, those enigmatic silhouettes getting through seasons in silence. Richard Montpetit subsequently returned to paint in France, then Cuba, Croatiia , Malta, and Martinique, then in the fall of 2016, to Provence and again Paris. In all that various corpus, as well as in his landscapes and street scenes in Montreal, Paris or any other town, his œuvre is specifically based on the effects of light, appearing like a meditation on everyday existence, solitude, presence and the passing time.
« I am a traveller and no matter where I am, I look with a certain nostalgia to see and feel. My gaze on the present moment is nostalgic, as if I were observing old photos. This is when everything becomes clear and I can really see. Of course I am painting the light, but studying the light is looking at time through days and nights, seasons, etc. So in a way my subject is time, time passing in our life, time that I want to capture or at least remember when the magic was present and I can convey that I was there… I am there. »
Since 1979 Richard Montpetit has exhibited in more than thirty one (31) solo shows, one of which was a retrospective exhibition that lasted three months at the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum. Permanently represented by several art galleries across Canada, his paintings are present in many public and private collections.
(Click the works to view larger images.)