Tom Thomson Totem of Modernity Portrait
It was in his early teens working as a weekend street apprentice painter in Quebec City when Jacques Deshaies first discovered the works of Tom Thomson and his contemporaries. This exposure to revolutionary artists of the time led to Deshaies interest in painting through direct observation; studying and capturing portraits of icons and of the natural world. One of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery’s latest projects Available Space Art Projects (ASAP) works with the Canadian Spirit 2017 theme, “Someday They Will Know What I Mean“, to honour the life, work and story of Tom Thomson on the 100th anniversary of his untimely and mysterious death, through art projects and installations. Deshaies was extremely attracted to this program with such a significant mission to celebrate and honour one of Canada’s most influential landscape painters of all time.
The Available Space Art Project (ASAP) started as a program in Owen Sound in 2015 to activate, revitalize and beautify spaces by working with artists to develop art projects and installations in vacant storefronts and other locations throughout the city’s core. ASAP strives to create a more inviting, vibrant, and invigorated viewing experiences for visitors and residents alike, and sees these vacant storefronts as places for future growth and development in the Owen Sound and beyond. ASAP is proud to present Deshaies portrait project entitled Tom Thomson Totem of Modernity Portrait on a wonderful stage-like space in Heritage Place Shopping Centre.
Tom Thomson Totem of Modernity Portrait captures Deshaie’s passion for totemic forms with careful observation rooted in a achromacy – black and white- conveying two iconic portraits of Tom Thomson. These dramatically illuminated painted portrait studies in a manerist style, with elongated proportions, blur the boundaries between representation and abstraction, the organic and the geometirc. Tom Thomson Totem of Modernity Portraits reminds us of the style of late Italian high renaissance painters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Carvagio and late Michaelangelo. A totem is a symbol, a guide. Tom Thomson was a guide, canoeist, Canadian and artist, a true myth, man and legend, Tom Thomson, remembered and renowned today as one of Canada’s most iconic landscape artists.
Deshaies has been working in the arts for over fifty years. He has specialized in abstract, landscape and portrait painting and has exhibited across Paris, Sweden, the United States and Canada. He lives and works in Montreal, Quebec.