In Sherbrooke, Québec, where she was born, Céline Genest studied Visual Arts and obtained her DEC (Diplôme d’Études Collégiales). She then furthered her studies at l’UQAM in Montreal and completed her Bachelor’s in visual arts at l’Université de Moncton, N.B. In 2018 she moved from Montreal to Charlo, in Northern New Brunswick where she works from her studio.
She started her twenty-five-year career as a CEGEP teacher in fashion illustration and then taught visual arts. Her research and explorations of different mediums and techniques in drawing, painting and colour classes impacted her personal work as an artist. In Montreal, in advanced workshops, she explored watercolour, pastel, stoneprinting, egg tempera, and on a weekly basis she drew from live models.
Her work is based within a sensory point of view from which she elaborates her ideas in series that are similar. Some paintings with more nature evolve in forest surroundings, detailed in highly coloured floral patterns where small human figures support the narrative. In other paintings with a more gestural approach, she paints human subjects overlapping and interfering in blurred atmospheres.
Her work has been displayed in both solo and group exhibits in private and public galleries in Moncton, NB, Montréal, The Laurentians, La Mauricie and Baie-Saint-Paul in Québec. Press coverage includes: L’Acadie Nouvelle, La Presse de Montréal, Magazine Arts and art exhibit catalogues.
After living as an artist and an art teacher most of my life in Montreal, I moved to Charlo, N.B. where I started to focus on interpretive landscape painting. My first observations amidst nature, especially in the forest, lead me to discover it’s raw chaotic disorder from which gentle beauty arises. The overwhelming feeling of awe as the discovery went on, of small floral details so well combined into one big pattern generated a state of puzzled enchantement.
Inquiring on the subject, I was amazed by the great number of poems, writings, myths, legends and tales to name a few, where the forest is the main constituent. These specific features combined with the floral aesthetics are the basics of my work. The compositions often include planes of water bodies. This permits to balance a busy surface of floral details. Water soothes and suggests moments of poise while mirroring the sky and the environment.
The painting titled L’Étranger (The Stranger) depicts an overall view of floral planes where two figures, in the background, are engaged in some sort of narration. Here the observer may want to imagine to different narratives. La Pause au Lac, (A Pause at the Lake) and Le Chant de la Cascade, (The Waterfall Song ) illustrate more intimate views to which one might be attracted to capture the elusiveness of the moment.
My goal by choosing the use of bright colours is to bypass reality and to illustrate a more supernatural or sacred space where by chance, our eyes, wide open, settle upon an unusual light.
Céline Genest, 2020
To view Céline's CV in both French and English please click here