Learning about plants from a book presents two new series of watercolours, expanding on Chantal Dupas’ ongoing interest in themes of memory, consumption, and transformation. With her series, N 49º5_ W 97º1_, she discovered a new method in which to visually document the process of decomposition. “The fact that my subject matter changed from day to day forced me to abandon certain passages and start fresh, allowing the pencil lines and underpainting from the day before to be exposed, and therefore expose the painting process itself. This way of working also abstracted the subject, moving it away from a traditional botanical illustration and allowing the image to shift back and forth, both providing information while also negating it. It became not just about painting an individual specimen but also about capturing a moment in time.” In the second series, Herbarium, she continues to document process, however that process is of someone else’s methods of documentation. As a volunteer at the University of Manitoba’s Herbarium, as well as current role as artist-in-residence at the Belmonte Laboratory (also at U of M), she was able to gain access to a plethora of species native to Churchill. The ways these plants were preserved hold as much weight in Dupas’ painting as did the plants themselves. The result is a delicate rendering of fragmented species.
Image credit info: My_ica g_le, 2015. Watercolour and pencil on paper, 9 x 12 inches.