Creating universes with primary colours
As part of its second artistic residency, Aussenwelt.co, a community of multidisciplinary artists that showcase the works of various creators, is presenting the works of Montreal-based artist Mephisto Bates.
Created in 2018, Aussenwelt.co is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to bring together all types of artists from the Montreal art scene. The organization aims to provide a sense of support for artists to exhibit their works in an innovative way.
Fragments colossaux: Hommage à Riopelle by interdisciplinary artist Mephisto Bates is hosted at Deneb.es, a multidisciplinary space, located at 22 Duluth Street E.
Bates studied Visual Arts at Cegep du Vieux Montréal a few years ago. It’s now been five years since he took his paintbrush and started working more profoundly on his artistic skills.
While admiring his canvases, it is easy enough to see that the palette is repetitive as Bates works with primary colours such as red, yellow and blue. Bates also uses orange and pink in his works.
To be honest, I dislike mixing colours, it annoys me,” said Bates. “I really like primary colours and with pastel alternatives, it gives my canvases a childish vibe.”
Bates works with acrylic paint and oil pastels. Depending on where he is, he will also use spray paint for his canvas.
In front of the multidisciplinary space’s window, five small paintings are showcased which is his study series. One of the canvases is a remake of a renaissance painting he used to create his own version.
“I find it interesting of reappropriating myself of artworks that already exist and are from another era. That way, I remake the artwork, but in my way,” said Bates.
Bates painted the inspired renaissance canvas with his left hand, even though he’s right-handed. He uses this technique to exaggerate his subjects on paint, giving them disproportionate bodies.
If the result is not exaggerated enough while using his left hand, Bates will simply blindfold himself to create more exaggeration in his work.
“Before covering my eyes, I prepare my colours. Then, I get lost, I don’t know what colour I am using,” said Bates. “I start my canvas like that to create a composition over which I have as little control as possible.”
The pandemic seems to have brought him luck as he is feeling more creative than ever. This has given him the opportunity to develop his skills and experiment more as he is already doing.
One particular canvas that sheds light on Bates’ unique style is La vierge pi des enfants pi toute (madonna) (2021) This is in reference to Madonna, a representation of the Virgin Mary.
This specific painting depicts a woman with a child on her knee, pointing at another child at her feet. The subjects are faceless, the bodies are disproportionate, but they make the canvas look simple.
The presence of white and black makes the vivid colours of the canvas burst, which emphasizes the light colours in depth.
His works are also a tribute to Jean-Paul Riopelle, a Montreal-based artist who was known for his abstract style of painting and mosaic works in the 1950s. Riopelle is an inspiration for Bates as he created powerful atmospheres on large canvases.
“I paint with colours that anyone could use. I like the idea that primary colours are the base of paint,” said Bates. “It’s like a paint kit for kids: I directly use the paint without having to mix it with another colour.”
The exhibition is presented behind windows, attracting the eyes of the public who can take a glance at the artwork presented in the locale.
Fragments colossaux: Hommage à Riopelle by Mephisto Bates is on display until Feb. 23.