Restless Vision: The Art of Marcel Barbeau
Born in 1925 in Montreal, Marcel Barbeau was one of the signatories of the “Refus Global,” a 1948 political and artistic manifesto dedicated to independence and spontaneity. Alongside Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Riopelle, among others, he was a member of the Automatists, a Montreal-based avant-garde movement that emphasized the unrestrained, expressive gesture of the individual artist and the unconscious as a wellspring of creativity. From this period until the present, Barbeau’s work has stayed true to a constant search for ways of expressing his inner life as directly as possible, avoiding external references or representational content. While the artist has restlessly shifted from medium to medium, he has continued to focus on a fundamental movement from mind to hand to material while employing the simplest of means.