Dominique Meunier, between two worlds
His contemplative approach to the landscape translates a mystical vision of nature and life. It emphasizes the importance of atmospheric rendering and light effects announcing the journey from one world to another.
"We live in an enigmatic universe where there is a secret communication between the sensitive natural world and the invisible surreal world, and I seek to show it"
After having lived an experience at the frontiers of death, Dominique Meunier is driven by the desire to make perceptible the link between reality, vital territory and the dark space of finitude. A journey from one universe to another like a journey in which nothing is lost and everything is transformed. On his canvas, this passage results in an expansion-retraction that spreads in a circular or horizontal and vertical way, from the earth to the sky and vice versa. The composition proliferates like an atomic cloud, captured in its eternal explosion. In this process of emergence, silence takes its place. It marks a temporal suspension, a space in a feeling of eternity.
According to his intuition and the encounter with the vagaries of the material, the artist intervenes in the state of upheaval. Fascinated by the imprint of time on the material, he searches, digs, scrapes by touches and textured effects using biological mortars and different structure pastes. With his knife, his trowel and his hand, he thus creates a background. It is a work in mutation towards the essential which ends in a stripping down. It is supported by relatively sober chromatic variations, nuanced with blue, black and golden creams. Then, using natural pigments, acrylic and oil, the painter composes fragments, accidents.
“ I work 'alla-prima', in the cool with rapid body movements, I would say almost physical. There, begins a game of construction, deconstruction and thickness. I sculpt, I seek to magnify the material, to spiritualize it. I do not freeze, I offer myself the opportunity to see the birth of the second impression, one which, from torment to appeasement, allows me to see more clearly. "
It's all about progress and movement. The movements guided by the hand of the artist, participate in this impression of open trajectory, of feeling of going beyond, beyond the limit, of the border, towards a destiny worked with the care to revitalize its contingency .
The effects of textures, impastos and modulations by addition and withdrawal, orient towards a dynamic balance, an impression of continuity. The breaks, cracks and cracks bring a form to the space that connects and separates.
“ I seek to constantly analyze the lines, veins, hollows, interstices, telluric rhythms and magmatic movements to open passages towards the plenitude of the sensitive and to show the unspeakable by the flows of light on the canvas which reveal the divine in the nature and in humans. "
In a logic of plant and organic link, the harmony of the relationship between man and nature takes on a new dimension. The painter lives in the countryside, the trees surround his studio. “ The tree is energy, in perpetual motion, often in the almost invisible. He wants to be understood and speaks his way. He takes the body to witness and he entrusts us with his messages. Pillar of the world within which it provides balance, there are t man's spiritual becoming "
Trees, forests, fields , skies, mountains… The landscapes unfold and offer an incalculable number of appearances to the state of enigmas. These are areas of questioning dictated by the random where the spectator constructs his own representation. Abstract forms combine with other syncretic entities; iconic signs , of Suger attendance ant more archaic perceptions : a Christ on the cross, a body, a portal ... These indices bring order into chaos and help to capture the ephemeral. Their appearance-disappearance responds to the praise of the gesture of the artist who questions the spiritual.
Conceived as as many substitutions as unexpected links, the work of Dominique Meunier reads like an endless continuum. From depth to illumination, from darkness to revelation, this real dazzling journey of reinvented and jostled landscapes brings a piece of dream, a gateway where the memento mori resonates . Ecstasy is poetic, vibrant and melancholy.
Caroline Canault, Art critic
In a passage, the impression of catharsis.
At first glance, Dominique Meunier’s work is characterized by its radical composition and by its voids and realistic silences. It is distinguished by the obvious austerity of its shapes and by its dull and closely defined color range. But the famous saying “Things are not always as they seem, appearances can be deceiving” holds true again when compared to Meunier’s artwork. As the perfect balance of yin and yang, his paintings also have filled forms and embracing curves. His work should be read as a genuine elegy to nature’s beauty in its most inspiring and soothing form.
His production process is complex and lengthy. Once the sand mortar is dry, he gets back to paint and pigments. He then removes by hand or using a trowel or a knife to adjust his work. As a philosopher, he does not let his work become static; he gives the opportunity for a second print birth which, by mending torments, allows us to see more clearly. His gesture is concrete, tangible and powerful as a breath; his painting is incorporated. The color shades are warm, plant-based and mineral-based.
Before him, many famous impressionist painters left workshops and chose landscape as their preferred model. For several years, Paul Cézanne has painted ‘Saint Victoire’ and has put it in the foreground in order to find a way to reproduce the mountain’s unique convex shade. Dominique Meunier questions the vibrant, symbolic and bright side of nature. He prospects in the steadiness and the lines of a mountain in response to watercourse energy and depth. It’s an invitation to walk along winding side roads, like turning the pages of an introspective sketchbook of a meditative walker. The frequent close-ups and the narrow frameworks lead to out-field views. It’s in this gap and in the painting cracks where a cathartic search begins.
Dominique Meunier has had 18 years ago a near-death experience.
Memories remained after this event, but also the ‘passage’ topic which is highly visible in his artwork. Many of his works refer to a Chinese poem dating back to the third century, written by Tao Yuanming, the father of landscape poetry. The poem tells a tale about a man who randomly discovers, while fishing, a passage leading into a happy, utopian and forgotten country. The fisherman, despite the numerous markings he left on the way, could never get back to the entrance of the secret world, with the persistent scent of peach blossoms.
It seems that, in Taoists beliefs, peach tree is the symbol of immortality.
For the artist, those fundamental and artistic journeys seem to have no other purpose than to lead us to the forgotten fulfilment path. The peace prevailing in the poetry and the balance of his landscapes takes us, in between transience and persistence, to a meditative state.
The nature seems to provide him an inexhaustible source of inspiration. As Claude Monet in Giverny before him, Dominique Meunier has his own indoor water garden. In the idealism of a reinvented Chinese nature and the Zen atmosphere of a Japanese garden, water lilies are floating, as well as the impression of a newfound absolute.
Sarah Heussaff, Art critic