THE ARTISTIC APPROACH
LAURENT VIENS, OVER 40 YEARS OF ARTISTRY
The first twenty years of painting and working elsewhere to actually eat, the next twenty years of painting while sometimes forgetting to event eat! 40 years later, Laurent Viens makes his living with art. As a painter and sculptor, Laurent mainly works with wood and metal. Always in research mode, never compromising or relying on proven formulas, Laurent works, works and works some more. He constantly challenges himself and thrives to produce and leave in heritage the markings of those who have crossed his path.
Laurent Viens… his life and art beat as one.
" I am the heir of those I have crossed paths with "
Black represents an important element in Laurent’s body of work since its beginnings. It appears under various matters and textures.
Brother Jérôme, mentor of many Quebec artists, welcomed and trained a twelve year-old Laurent Viens who has never since lay down his paintbrush, or rather his trowel and other tools.
At a very young age and with no financial means, Laurent tried to find a material allowing him to paint at a fraction of the cost of oil paint. With his humble lawn mowing salary, he bought a gallon of roofing tar. From this black and opaque matter, ideal in creating textures, he came about declining a subtle palette of colors with over twenty shades achieved through product dilution. These dark shades of tar would give Laurent means to express his deepest thoughts and paint the black, the amber, the ochre, and even the red of his soul. Since then, tar as a medium continues to inhabit his body of work.
At this stage, Laurent seeks to integrate white in his work. Despite the presence of black and use of dark shades, light has always been present in Laurent’s work.
Searching incessantly, working on white canvas covers, exploring engraving, the white of paper, of polished metal, of linoleums and of many other materials, with each try leading to the next, Laurent was successful and his recent body of work’s expressions of light are its proof. Always large-scale, his work is tactile. While often rough around the edges in the past, today’s body of work instills a sense of delicateness and subtlety true to his artist’s gained experience.
The peak moment of this artistic period is, without a doubt, his 2000 solo art show BLANC GOUDRON, a successful event greatly welcomed by art collectors, purchasing 25 of the displayed art pieces on opening night.
THE THIRD DIMENSION
As research of colors is important to Laurent’s work, the search of dimensions is an equally essential part of his work.
Exploring the third dimension of roofing tar textures led the painter’s work to live outside of its canvas. That is to say, imminently looking for new challenges and ways to go forward, Laurent has often painted on non-conventional canvases. Wood, metal, aluminium, car hoods and much more become just as enticing mediums as paper and regular artistic canvases. This marks a turn in his work: the creation of three dimension art pieces, concave or convex, of which the coveted CITROËN car hood series stood out. From the start, aluminium, steel, wood and more have been inscribed and integrated in his body of work.
It has often been suggested that his large-scale art pieces emanate a calm force, a sense of space occupancy and a strong presence upon their environment.
SCULPTURE, A PLACE OF CHOICE
To talk justly of Laurent Viens’ work, one must address his time to paint and his time to sculpt. Usually Laurent paints yet, as he puts it himself: “When hands betray…” he goes looking for answers in the parallel world, that of sculpture.
Many of his art pieces now adorn garden, terraces and houses of numerous Montrealers and suburbanites. Laurent has often been commissioned in created sculptures to embellish people’s living environments. Until recently, his sculptors where made for private collectors, however that changed when the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu commissioned him to work on a monumental landscape art piece.
In the Fall of 2011, Laurent completed the installation of the extraordinary sculpture at a roundabout at the city’s Northwest entrance. The challenge was interesting for a precise theme was imposed and the sculpture had to answer to a series of technical criteria.
The challenge was met successfully under the theme of transportation. Commuters are now challenged with two perspectives: one during the day and one at nightfall. In fact, the integration of lighting fixtures at the heart of the art piece lets these two experiences collide: one rather inner and symbolic (at nighttime), the other quite outer and realistic (at daytime).
Steel becomes his material of choice, with galvanized metalwork and other components integrated as well. Made of distorted white-hot steel, cut, welded and assembled, his hefty art pieces exude a sense of levity. The steel of his body of work, often evokes a tissue in movement, a dress or veil floating in the wind.
THE URBANIA SERIES
Laurent Viens has been working on the URBANIA series since 2011. This approach integrates sculpture, engraving and painting on concave and convex structures. The art pieces are tridimensional, urban and innovative. After many years of research, this new series is the synthesis of 40 years of craftsmanship, making this collection a new type of product in the art world. The series represents a great potential for Quebec markets as well as exporting markets such as New York, Miami, London and Paris.
THE RENAISCENDRES SERIES
Regrettably, an incident outside of Laurent’s control forced him to rein in his production. On the night of August 16th 2012, a major fire completely destroyed his workshop, sanctuary of creation and production. “In the inferno, everything was lost: tools, equipment, material, computer, audiovisual archives as well as 60 art pieces completed for the URBANIA series.”
Convinced by its potential and motivated by the public’s positive response to the URBANIA series, Laurent does not give up, quite the contrary. Less than 3 days after the fire, driven and with no sense of self-pity, Laurent rolled up his sleeves and decided to build a new workshop two steps away from his home, better lit and more comfortable. Friends and family helped him through the challenge and the fire made way for his RENAISSANCE.
The RENAISCENDRES series presents nine series of ten embossed and hand-enhanced paper canvases, made by using the ashes of his burnt workshop. The sales generated from his RENAISCENDRES series at two benefit events will have allowed Laurent to rise from his ashes.
 Laurent Viens, Agust 2012
THE CHALLENGE IN 2013
Laurent’s challenge for upcoming years is to expand to American and European markets. Art gallery owners and collectors have shown interest in Laurent’s work since his recent art shows. The time has come to present his work across the Atlantic, where three galleries are already welcoming his body of work with open arms.