Review: Points in Time

Points in Time is an exhibition by Chris Langlois, presented in Gallery 2 at The Gold Coast Arts Centre, on display from August 2nd to September 14th. The exhibition showcases more than thirty paintings by Langlois, many of them presented as large canvas landscapes. Since completing his study at The University of Newcastle in 1990, Chris Langlois has drawn international acclaim and earnt the reputation as one of Australia’s leading contemporary landscape artists. Langlois’s paintings are characterized by subtle shifts of light and space, exploring the beauty and nature of land and sea. His large scale canvases and tremendous surface quality envelope the audience. While his paintings are often inspired by places, they transcend time and space to become much more about personal experience. Langlois has been called ‘a painter’s painter’ in that he revels in the process of painting and developing a rigorous technique that allow images to ‘emerge’ from the canvas.

A number of Langlois’s paintings are presented as large oil works on linen canvasses, saturating each wall with life and colour in the gallery, encouraging a diversity of expression within the unique landscapes. As part of the exhibition, Langlois shares the techniques and theory behind his work through a video interview that is presented in the Gallery 2 Dark room. His painting has oscillated from pure abstraction to relatively literal landscapes, yet certain qualities have remained consistent. His subtle use of light and space, the meticulous command of paint, and a desire to work within a limited, but ever-changing, palette of tones and colours. The theme and purpose in his paintings are at times quite apparent, such as the ocean or vast tracts of land, surveyed from above. Other times, the subject seems to be obscurity itself; a strange misty void in which substance dissolves into pure atmosphere.

The paintings in the exhibition interact well together, giving each canvas its own space. A calm mood is exerted when walking through the exhibition as you see and feel every landscape. Langlois’s use of dull colours in his paintings interacts with the relaxing atmosphere in which the viewers are positioned. The sky, clouds, dead trees after a Snowy Mountains bushfire, even tiny refractions of landscape revealed in the rain drops forming on a car window during a thunderstorm have all inspired different themes in Langlois’s work. Each canvas shares a story of the landscape, inspiring a meaning of the world through water, colour and light. A moody presence is cast by the lights fixed above each canvas, working in conversation with the context of the landscape. The works are shared amongst a clean, white space.

The feeling of existing within the landscape is a key strength of Langlois’s work. Throughout his career as an artist, Chris Langlois has had a steadily evolving relationship with his subject matter. This exhibition reveals a deeper understanding of landscapes and the Points in Time, which we often take for granted. Here we are given a subtle invitation into his world of observation and creation.

By Jessica Longworth

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