Sometimes I think Marc Leduc is the best-kept secret on the Montreal art scene. A prolific…

‘Enjoy’ is perhaps a bit of a misnomer, since Leduc’s visual lexicon can at times weave a dark narrative. His style is incomparable, informal, flirting with art brut, unencumbered and cryptic, to borrow from the title of his latest exhibition.

Cryptogrammes presents Leduc’s latest works, fifteen drawings and paintings on wood that are as original as they are visually intriguing. This is a truly rewarding experience for someone who appreciates his art, as the new pieces do not disappoint.

Although of an entirely different ilk, some of Leduc’s works bring to mind Francis Bacon, simply because of their strong visual, at times brutal, presentation, and the intensely personal component.

Take Bâtard for example, with a desolate central figure sitting on a low bed, half nailed to it, with what looks like innards spilling from his body and onto the floor. This could be a macabre image were it not for the artist’s dexterity when working with mixed media, and the soft, subdued palette. Myriad symbols and markings float all around, punctuating the space like tiny insects.

Leduc’s series of heads, Têtes, provokes a dual reaction, one of curiosity but also of some trepidation. They are like a golem, unfinished, moulded from primal matter, features fluid, just appearing, or perhaps disappearing from the faces. What is unavoidable is the emotion these works provoke; these faces are painful and needy, not really looking at us, but calling out nevertheless.

From bold shapes to fine, complex compositions, Leduc shies from nothing when creating, encrypting his personal vision on paper and wood. This is his story; the good, the bad, and the ugly, but all his, and it’s all wonderful.

Marc Leduc: Cryptogrammes
Galerie Robert Poulin
December 14, 2017—February 17, 2018