Le philtre de l’amour (The Love Potion)

For this series of bold, colourful paintings we are happy to let the exhibition catalogue from La Galerie Colline in Moncton, New Brunswick, explain their rationale.

‘In this series of paintings, based on the major arcana of the tarot, we follow Jezebel and Merlin, half-human, half-monster, who boldly step forward into a bleak and timeless world, a universe bursting with symbols and zoomorphic and anthropomorphic metaphors. They consciously work to join together, but a series of complex issues inhabit and disturb their quest. Their fatal journey confronts them with a set of figures from pagan, mythological, Christian, demonological and pop-modern heritages. None of these tutelary figures is openly hostile, but the majority of them are problematised, their moving bodies littering the evolving stages of a nightmare. Each crypto-mythical figure is surrounded by a complex panoply of swarming and colourful characters. This dense mytho-social device, amplified and metaphorised, is polymorphic, and inexorably dictates a path whereby the eye is caught and stuck if we do not guide it subtly. In each scene Jezebel and Merlin experience paradoxical torment, and each time it turns out to be much like the biggest trick we could play on them. In the course of these twists and turns they will ultimately survive and merge. We know they will, so certainly that it becomes possible for us to lose sight of them a little from time to time, and to be enchanted by the universes that unfold around them and the anomalies that haunt them.’ There you have it.

As with most of Claude Bolduc’s work, this brightly-coloured tarot-inspired sequence provides plenty of food for thought and imagination. As well as the major arcana, he also produced a fifteen-painting sequence for the minor arcana, from which ‘Le philtre de l’amour’ above is taken. You can see it by clicking here.