Inspired by notions of exploration and discovery, psychedelic rock, and sixties folk lyrics, André Ethier attempts to portray untouched nature; the landscape of fantasies, myths, conquistadors, and fairy tales.
There is a [Trees] song about a man who can transform into a seal, who predicts his own death at the hands of his wife’s lover. The secret lover is a seal hunter. Seals are referred to as “Silkies”. That word alone is inspiring. I imagine ancient Celts believing seals to be magical spirits. I was followed by a curious Sea Lion as I was rowing a rowboat off the coast of Vancouver Island last summer. I could imagine believing that there was a human trapped inside. – André Ethier
Totem spirits and mythological creatures ascribed modern day attributes give Ethier’s ancient references new life, endowing them with a contemporary feel that makes them more accessible and, at the same time, more foreboding. Ethier’s remarkable imagination is both shocking and amusing, drawing the hilarity out of even the most morose imagery.
Meditation and improvisation ( i.e. the “Jam”) function as the underlying theme of this group of works, so that the concept of exploration refers to the physical and the metaphysical acts of exploring, as well as a metaphor for the practice of painting as both an external and internal exploration for the artist. Ethier’s process therefore becomes his own journey within, uncovering a personal “untouched nature” that reflects his obsessions and fascinations. His portrayal of “nature” inescapably intertwines the lushness and variance of the physical landscape with the complexity of animal temperament. The result is the personification of the unknown as monstrous; not just horrific, but as oppressively overwhelming and of epic proportion, filled with wonder and beauty as well. His paintings evoke the confusion of a dream, where the inconceivable becomes reality.