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45 #11 – 2018

Ron Fortier


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My work is non-representational and perhaps totally abstruse so to give it a "title" defeats my intent of painting nothing. This piece, as well as the others in the 45 Series, represents the first large canvases created in my new studio in Fairhaven, Massachusetts after relocating from my home in Portugal and getting married. My approach to this piece, as with all of my others, has no objective other than to create a cohesive and pleasing composition. Yet, there are many admirers of my work who find it very tangible and emotionally revealing despite my insistence that I am not inspired by, supported by, or conscious of any emotional state of mind. Each piece that I complete, at the very least, documents an act of surrender in order to allow my instincts to guide me. However, I am, at the same time, afraid to totally let go and lose control of the craft of painting. And if I totally rely on my instinct as a painter, I may lose my intellectual, regimented, and pedantic self. Therefore, in my search for a successful combination of the two, I struggle at the intersection between acceptance and change. The struggle contributes to my growth as an abstract, non-objective, and expressionist painter.

30"H × 40"W × 1.5"D
Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas.


I completely believed my self-perpetuated mantra of painting sang froid – cold-bloodedly – and of ignoring my emotions for quite some time. My fixation was totally on my compositional abilities; the focus of which was the horizontal line fully conscious that it would conjure an abstracted landscape. The calligraphic element, scribbles or sgraffito if you prefer, are vestiges of my earliest stitched abstractions inspired by Alberto Burri. I pursued abstraction for decades, only to discover that I had been avoiding my emotions in my attempt to paint nothing. Those repeated attempts have failed because the supposedly hidden or ignored emotions are revealed to the viewer in ways that I cannot explain. Yet, viewers of my work describe the very same things that I thought I was avoiding, which continues to astonish me since I have never expressed it verbally to anyone.

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