Marie-Claude Bouthillier

« mcb » les blés, 1999

Marie-Claude Bouthillier
« mcb » les blés
Dimensions and medium
Encaustic and polymer varnish on canvas, 169.5 × 276.3 cm
Purchase, with generous funds from the Foundation of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Artwork description
Works from Marie-Claude Bouthillier’s 1998 series mcb are comprised of heavily built-up cursive writing—the artist’s initials—on raw canvas. Through this densely accumulating script, one eventually perceives a kind of landscape; in the case of « mcb » les blés, an undulating field of wheat. Here, the importance of the title in informing our understanding of the work is crucial. While inevitably influencing our reading of the work, it also reveals the fabricated nature of representation. By using her initials as the elemental motif in her paintings, Bouthillier has equipped herself with an irrefutable element: her own signature as an affirmation of a fact, as the identifier of the work’s creator. Simultaneously, it evokes the “I” of subjectivity, the intimate and elusive aspect of the creative impulse that comes to life through drawing. The work culminates where the antithetical notions of reality and fiction, of truth and illusion—incarnated by the positive and negative space formed by ink and blank canvas, symbols of the factual and the undeniable—converge with areas where the writing becomes drawing, revealing landscapes that take shape through the power of illusion.

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