Élise Caron is one of few Quebecer artists who dedicate themselves to researching innovative painting methods through their artistic journey. Her work distinguishes itself by a composition marked both by intuitive intention and deep, profound reflection. Her creation process comes through free movements, subtle, patient and with scrutiny. At a very young age, her interest in arts oriented her studies. First, she completed her studies in Visual Arts at Saint-Laurent College, which were followed by a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design with a major in illustration at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University. For a decade, Élise Caron worked as a graphic designer for different publicity studios, as well as a teacher in the same field, all the while maintaining her painting journey. She deepens her watercolour painting technique with Jean-Paul Ladouceur and perfects her Western calligraphy. As of 1983, Élise Caron took part in numerous groups exhibits and, in 1988, she organizes her first solo exhibit. In 1996, her artistic journey takes a new turn as she develops interest in Chinese painting and calligraphy. She studied Japanese and Chinese history at the East Asia Study Center, at the University of Montreal. She perfects her painting by working in an individual workshop with a Chinese calligraphy master. A grant by the Conseil de la culture des Laurentides (Council of culture of the Laurentian region) allowed her to receive individual coaching by a Chinese master in Tai Chi, permitting her to strengthen her knowledge of Chinese philosophy.
Élise Caron then won the 3rd prize of the American Orchid Society with her Chinese inspired painting entitled “Silence”. She researched and hosted a six-episode series on Chinese calligraphy and painting entitled “Ombres et Lumières avec Élise Caron,” that aired on the Vox Channel in Fall 1999 and again in winter 2000-2001. Élise Caron was often called to be a guest at the Day of Paintings in the gardens of the Lieutenant Governor. She was also invited to paint for the Mosaïcultures internationales de Montréal, during the Art Week, in 2001. In April 2002, she took part in the sale exhibit “Les Fameuses”, an important event in the visual art in the Montreal region. In 2003, her painting was selected by the designers of the TCHFM (The Canadian Home Furnishings Market, held in Toronto) to be displayed in the “TENDANCES” display in 2004-2005. Through the entire month of September, in 2004, the popular shoe store Browns held a solo exhibit of her paintings in the windows of their Sainte-Catherine Street store; the purpose of which was to associate themselves to the “Journées de la Culture” held in Montreal. In the summer of 2003, as she was in a masterclass given by Mrs. Françoise Sullivan, she was encouraged to pursue her abstract painting journey. That was yet another turning point for Élise Caron in her research process.
She is a member of the RAAV / CARFAC, (group of professional artists in visual arts). She teaches professional artists as well as newcomers through individual coaching. Élise Caron also lectures on art, is among the group of artists involved in the Integration Policy from Arts to Architecture, 1%. In April 2013, Élise Caron received a creative grant by the CALQ (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec).
Her work was exhibited at the Marius-Barbeau Museum, in Beauce, throughout the summer of 2011. In 2013, the Museum of Fine Arts of Mount Saint-Hilaire held a prestigious exhibit on “Paul-Émile Borduas, the New York Years as well as the Heritage of Paul-Émile Borduas”, in which she took part.
Simultaneously, her solo exhibit “Caron Pureté” is organized at the Paul-Émile Borduas workshop, in the Maison de Paul-Émile Borduas, a part of the Mont Saint-Hilaire Museum of Fine Arts. Élise Caron is a finalist of the 2015 CALQ Award in the Creator of the Year category in the Laurentians (all disciplines included); this award is given to an artist as recognition of their outstanding journey and the excellence of their artwork, overall. In the fall of 2016, she exhibited, solo, her larger formats at Mont Tremblant.
Her work is included in the public and private collections of corporations such as the Quebec and Canada governments, particularly in the Department of Foreign Affairs (for Canadian embassies). Her artwork can be viewed in numerous solo or group exhibits in many well-known artistic centres and Maisons de la Culture, in Montreal. Her work is permanently displayed at the MX Gallery, also in Montreal.
My distinctive painting is inspired by my studies in graphic design, my training in eastern art and my work in abstract art with Mrs. Françoise Sullivan, cosigner of the Manifeste du Refus Global du Québec.
From those combined influences, I developed a very personal approach to art, in harmony with my thoughts and feelings. It is a philosophical way of painting, both poetic and mystical.
My artwork is made distinct by a minimalist approach, abstract and contemporary in its shapes, colours, and space. Their conception is initially based on an oriental approach and inspiration. Following my deepened knowledge of brush handling and of ink in Chinese calligraphy, I was able to personalize my strokes and to develop a very personal technique through the acrylic medium I use. The black stroke, which refers to Chinese calligraphy, is reduced to the essential. The shape depicts the apparent reality of the subject, while its vital energy, its Ch’I or “breath of life”, breathes strength and energy into the painting.
The Western influence brings a dynamic and contemporary side to the painting. I favour the acrylic medium because it allows me to create my own colours; it allows me to play with an infinite quantity of options and thus create shades and intensity with perfect subtleties.
First, I apply the colours with a flat, with great care, in many thin and successive layers, without creating depth or perspective. The empty spaces (the whites) and the filled spaces (the colours) – the yin and the yang – are then carefully balanced, by inserting them following the “all over” principle in abstract art. That principle suggests that the artwork extends itself beyond the canvas. The paintings are created in solo and are often presented in polyptych sets, which adds a new dimension to the paintings. This is also a nod to the multiple panels that are characteristic of Chinese art.
Furthermore, in ancient Chinese philosophy, the signature is an essential element of the painting, which is considered and affixed with the purpose of balancing the painting. The position of my red signature, on the side of my paintings, in an integral element of my artistic journey, always in an idea of stripping and lightening.
The vermillion (red) colour used for the signature recalls the cinnabar paste of the Chinese seal.
“The entire work of Élise Caron: each artwork is unique and genuine and sufficient within itself. But at the same time… each artwork (in association) can become a part of one or many sets, and thus create… like magic… a new artwork of its own. That is so seldom!”
Renée Gilbert, commissary to the “Pureté et Dépouillement” exhibit of Élise Caron, in the Marius-Barbeau Museum.