As one of the four founding members of the group Les Plasticiens and a life member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, Fernand Toupin’s role in Canadian Art History is an important one. Over fifty years since the release of the Plasticiens’ important manifesto, their enduring impact on Canadian art is apparent. Artists in the AGNS collection who owe a debt to the group are many. Jeux sur neige, I & II
, is a wonderful diptych typical of Toupin’s matierist
painting. Heavy, yet friable paint extrudes from the surface, recalling the architectural approach of the Les Plasticiens, but without the strict geometry. This work is reflective of his later organic, lyrical approach to painting that, while still non-representational, explores texture and space, using colours to enhance but not overwhelm. This works speaks to not only the other Plasticien artists in the AGNS collection, but also to the greater network of Quebec artists. Comparing this to a landscape by Jean-Paul Lemieux - a friend of Toupin whom he much admired - or to works by Tousignant
, Riopelle, McEwen, all of whom are represented in the AGNS collection, provides for an exciting dialogue about the evolution of art and artists from this region and their far-reaching influences.
Sarah Fillmore, Acting Chief Curator and Curator of Exhibitions