Excerpts from the Robert Gaudreau Art Review
by Ed McCormack, Managing Editor
Gallery and Studio Magazine. Nov-Dec 2009 - Jan 2010 issue, Titled:
“Robert Gaudreau Celebrates the Dreams, Nightmares, and Vanity of Homely Humanity”
What seems to set the figurative painter Robert Gaudreau apart from a lot of other artists today is that he is not going through all sorts of clever conceptual or stylish contortions to overcome what one critic recently had the audacity to refer to as “the fallen state of painting since the 1960's, when Andy Warhol merged it with mechanical reproduction and Minimalism petrified it with a basilisk stare.”
If, in fact, painting actually has fallen nobody seems to have told Gaudreau about it: for he still proceeds as if painting still matters, and in doing so, makes it matter in the way that it always has when it is any good: as a way of looking at the world and humanity quite apart from the declarations of critics and the currents of fashion.
It is necessary to make clear that Gaudreau, a former professional sign painter, has developed a highly sophisticated personal iconography which combines elements of Expressionism and Surrealism, and that he is without question one of our more prolific observers of the human condition.
For like Walt Whitman, Gaudreau - or at least his teeming imagination - literally contains multitudes. A cast of thousands populates the hundreds of oils and pastels.
But it is not the sheer number of works that impresses one most: rather, it is the many bizarre situations and psychological states that his paintings portray that tempts one to regard Gaudreau as a contemporary peer of artists such as Ensor and Munch, who link Expressionism to Symbolism, and with whom he shares a lineage that goes all the way to Bosch and Bruegel.
Although he can conjure up complex multi-figure tableaux as hellish as anything ever imagined by Bosch, as indicated by such titles as “West Bank” and “Totalitarian,” that Robert Gaudreau is also an astute student of human behavior, as well as the pathos of conformist social conventions.