With imagination, passion and energy, Robert Gougeon composes stories of positive vision. Rich colours and texture float in essential space. With spatula, he sculptures acrylics and gel on canvas with an evolving palette and style. He strives for the intensity of simplicity through minimalism. Architectural and organic elements interact creating both calm and tension simultaneously. This is his recognizable and authentic signature. His goal is artistic integrity, originality, relevance and impact. Commercial or decorative art are not a priority. Three distinct series (Urban Scape, Landscape and In Motion) are currently in play as he walks the fine and unforgiving line between representational and abstract art.
Avec imagination, passion et énergie, Robert Gougeon compose des histoires de vision positive. Les couleurs riches et les textures flottent dans l’espace essentiel. Avec spatule, il sculpte l’acrylique et le gel sur un canvas où évolue la palette et son style. Il poursuit l’intensité de la simplicité - le minimalisme. Des éléments achitecturaux et organiques se disputent le calme et la tension. C'est sa signature reconnaissable et authentique. Son but artisitque : humilité, intégrité et originalité. Ni le commercial ou le décoratif sont prioritaires. En marchant la fine ligne entre l’art représentatif et expressionniste, il travaille sur trois séries distinctes (Paysage urbain, Paysage naturel et En motion).
Eight in Robert's Striking a Balance series are currently on curated exhibition (long term) at the AIr Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Heathrow, London, GB. Robert has shown in the Toronto and National Capital regions in solo and group exhibitions (three in 2017), as well as at an international contemporary art fair (Artist Project 2016). He is featured in the periodical bravoart.org edition No. 29 Spring-Summer 2016 and has been published in 2017 Spring - Summer and the 2018/2019 Fall - Winter and 2019 Spring-Summer editions. He is represented by the Galerie Côté Créations in Ottawa. In 2017 the Canada Council for the Arts approved his profile as a professional ‘Artist'. He was also interviewed on the TV talk show Entrenous.
Huit tableaux de la série En équilibre sont couramment exposés (long terme) dans le salon d'air Canada Feuille d'érable à Heathrow, Londres, GB. Robert a participé à maintes expositions dans des galeries publiques et privées des régions de Toronto et de la Capitale nationale du Canada et est représenté en permanence à la Galerie Côté Créations d’Ottawa. Le Conseil des arts du Canada a approuvé son profil d’Artiste professionnel en 2017. Il est en première dans le périodique bravoart.org, édition No.29 printemps - été 2016 alors qu’il a contribué aux éditions printemps - été 2017, automne - hiver 2018/2019 et printemps - été 2019. Il fut interviewé à la télévision – Entrenous en 2017.
Translation 2016 Spring/Summer Edition of bravoart.org
Words of the Director General of BRAVO– Re-inventio
...Authencity always exacts "the ransom of body and soul": so affirms Denis Mateo, member of BRAVO-Est and confirms Robert Gougeon on pp. 8 to 9).
Portrait / Interview - ROBERT B GOUGEON
Robert B Gougeon (1953) has been constructing a series entitled Urban Scape since January 2015. During the year many sub-series emerged, distinct yet interrelated. These will continue to evolve in 2016 with some 50 paintings now influencing his unique direction. The last series demarks an important change where the essential is revealed with simplicity and increases with intensity. The subject matter speaks more clearly and light is more present.
He defies the city of concrete, glass and steel, often sterile, always vibrant. With spatula and gel he creates texture with audacious and varied strokes; with acrylic he reveals colours vibrant and soft, warm and cold, luminous and dark. Robert Gougeon compels interaction and tells stories through abstract expressionism nuanced by hard edge. His contemporary style is conveyed by a dynamic energy floating in space where ordered chaos defines and shapes the human experience and where connections make his positive vision pertinent.
You are now retired. What did you do before? I took my retirement at 55, having worked 33 years for the federal public service in Aboriginal relations and natural resources.
Where did you work and for how many years? I got myself interested and interesting by changing positions almost every two years. I worked 12 years at Indian and Northern Affairs, 10 years at Parks Canada, 9 at Natural Resources, over a year at Fisheries and Oceans and one year at External Affairs.
In what discipline did you study? I have and MA in Geography from the University of Ottawa and a BA Honours in Public Administration from Carleton University.
Why do you paint today? Mid-career aptitude tests confirmed that I was much more oriented toward the arts than being a public servant. I was encouraged to explore the artistic side and I started taking courses and workshops. The necessity to paint has since only increased.
Do you like what you do? Like is not the right word. I free and exhaust myself when I paint.
Why did you not choose painting when you were young, in brief, a career in art? I succeeded above all in a career which would allow me to escape poverty. Yet my artistic inclination suggested early on a different career path. I would pass hours drawing, especially futuristic cities, and make long visits to the old ‘National Gallery.’ Not even 10 years old, I would find my way alone on the tram without paying.
The strongest memory of your childhood? I would build alone cities of sand on a beach near Ottawa. In loosing myself to my imagination, I would evade my hard reality of a deceased father, of poverty and the sometimes cruel alleys of 1950-60 Ottawa. My current series constitutes a return to the protection and warmth of that childhood beach.
What is the object that you can’t do without? Possessions interest me little, but the security and comfort that I lacked in my childhood still have too great an influence on my choices.
What is it that you don’t like of the art world? There is always a struggle between the purity of creativity and quality on the one hand, and on the other, sales dictated in large part by the volatility of the economy, the known ‘beautiful – decorative’ and the pursuit of that which is ‘young and cool.’
What is your professional objective in your practice of art? I wish to leave a positive mark, a Gougeon signature. Albeit a pretentious ambition, it justifies an audacious journey that continuously runs up against numerous obstacles, including those I create myself.
What is the best advice that you have received? Advice that I was given recently: ‘Accept well founded criticism (negative or positive) as a great compliment.’
What have you done to market your works? For starters, subscribe to BRAVO, which has always supported me à all levels. My marketing has been spotty (Facebook, LinkedIn, the BRAVO website, business cards). I also relied on the exposure provided by a few solo and group exhibits. The other day, I went to New York City as a participant in a student trip. I was a bohemian showing my works with iPad to Chelsea and Lower East Side galleries. I learned! I stay relevant and visible with my up-to-date web site, Instagram and with my participation in exhibits and fairs targeting the larger public. I bought an iPad to easily show my organized images and an iPhone to take better photographs and to use the Square application for credit card transactions. I applied for an Ontario Arts Council grant to support a very public project. I need to do a business plan that strategically embodies marketing.
The promotion of My Art: Relentless Work From the art periodical: N°31 Spring-Summer 2017 bravoart.org; p.11 (see below - French original)
ROBERT B. GOUGEON (BRAVO-Est)
The formula is simple: 50/50. The more I create, the more I must promote. Art is the act of a society, now global, that necessitates visibility through the internet; otherwise, it’s little more than an introspective personal gesture, a hobby. Everything changed for me with my participation in the Artist Project 2016 in Toronto, and since, I’ve been forging ahead. At times frustrating, I keep my Web site up to date with new works and events. I make good use of BRAVO venues: its Web site, Babill’ART BRAVO, and brovoart.org , a periodical that featured me in its No. 29 Spring-Summer 2016 edition. This was key and a copy now accompanies my many submissions. (Addition: Since the beginning of the year, I have participated in two group exhibitions).
I have an artist profile with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Art Council and I am a member of several visual artist associations whose on line notifications keep me posted of opportunities for exposure. I sell my works on line through Artbomb and participate in Art Lending of Ottawa. I regularly post on Instagram, Facebook and use LinkedIn, which make people aware of my art practice/business.
Last year, like a bohemian, I visited New York City’s Chelsea and Lower East Side galleries; and I just submitted to one an application to participate in a group exhibition. I’m waiting for news from ArtBattles which envisages a new televised series in the U.S.A. and trying to sell my art to the City of Ottawa. Following numerous rejections from public and private galleries and a short stint in a good gallery in the Toronto Distillery District, since January 2017, my works are finally exhibited in gallery (Westboro, Ottawa), where I work some three days a month. My Résumé/CV and Artist Statement and images are adapted for each initiative (addition: ,whose criteria and specifications are always different).
I have only scratched the hard surface of a competitive reality that gives few results, at least for the moment. I especially don’t seek recognition (correction: recognition is key!), but I must keep moving, find the time to paint and in spite of the uncertainties and (addition: poor odds,) achieve at best, some ephemeral success.
Photo Caption: The 11 works of Robert B. Gougeon at the Galerie Côté Creations located at 88 Richmond Road in Westboro, Ottawa
Fall-Winter 2018-2019 edition of bravoart.org