Pierre Dorion gained attention early in his career for his in situ pictorial interventions which revisited the styles and subjects of classical painting from a critical standpoint. Since then, his work has reflected the relationship between painting, architecture, photography and art history. Over the course of the 1990s, Dorion further honed his practice, dedicating himself almost exclusively to a series of large-scale self-portraits. He later began another research phase where he explored abandoned buildings and empty interiors (Images romaines). The essence of photography is evident in his process; his increasingly graphic, pared-down style tends towards a figurative minimalism where the content’s abstraction sometimes blurs its reading. This reductionism manifests itself in the choice of subjects as well as the painting’s composition. One of the turning points in this production occurred near the end of his Images romaines series, with a painting titled Landscape with Lamppost and Blue Building (1996). From that point forward, the representation of space in his work became increasingly abstract. His paintings depict views that alternate between subjects that are isolated within a pictorial space to reveal the fullness of their shape, and more flattened perspectives that highlight the formal properties of his subjects.

Portait of Pierre Dorion.
Photo: Nat Gorry