A lifelong resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, artist R. J. Marchand is inspired by the natural world of his native province and beyond. For thirty years he has been working almost exclusively in acrylics, inks, and watercolours. His paintings exhibit an eclectic range of influences including impressionist painters such as Monet and Japanese print makers such as Hokusai. His work, which combines both abstraction and realism, often includes representations of animals, suggesting a mystical relationship between the animal and the observer. His work can be found in professional offices and personal collections.
“ Seeing clearly and completely is always the most challenging part of the painting process, and perhaps the most challenging part of the process of living as well. For me, the expression of that authentic vision combines both realism and abstraction to create a story that is at once both real and not real, both a thing and an idea. I love the pure emotional allure of abstraction and the joy in my relationship to the paint itself, while the realism allows me to focus externally on the beauty to be found in the world outside of my studio. That beauty is almost always found in the natural world and the fleeting glimpses that we get of it, and my emotional orientation is invariably one of reverence.
Every work is an expression of the relationship between me and my subject, and more specifically the space between us. In his poem ‘Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself’, Wallace Stevens captures this tension between the thing as it is and the thing as we see it. That tension, between reality and the way in which I experience reality, is at the heart of my artistic journey. Each painting is both an exploration of the bird or animal that I paint and my subjective experience of it. ”