At first glance, Canadian artist Jacques Descoteaux’s canvases resemble abstract color field paintings, but as the eye adjusts and subtle variations in tone and texture emerge, they turn out to be landscapes. Originally inspired by the flat topography and vast skies of the region surrounding James Bay, where he spent time years ago, and the urban environment of Toronto, where the artist is now based, Descoteaux paints what would almost be better described as cloudscapes. His compositions are often pure sky, beautiful shifting gradients of oil paints applied in many thin layers to create subtle shifts in light and tone.
Details of scale and setting emerge gradually, revealing dramatic cliffs, stunning shafts of sunlight and expanses of gray coastal fog. And yet, even in seemingly monochromatic visual climates, Descoteaux manages to wrest color and spontaneity from his images, inflecting endless grey clouds with shades of purple, orange, green and blue, blurring the boundaries where water and sky meet. Majestic landscapes teeter towards abstraction in his wondrous canvases.