Diane Desmarais

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Diane Desmarais, an artist and contemporary painter

Contemporary painter Diane Desmarais was born in Hull in 1946. She graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in 1969. Desmarais’ paintings on canvas are distinguished by the sensuality of her subjects (wiry, androgynous, contorted characters), her mastery of the material, the strength of her compositions and the subtle use of colour and lines. Diane Desmarais’s paintings plunge us into an area of hadow and light, truth and falsehood, love and hate.

A thematic, imaginary and sensual painting

“The passion and the loving condition, with all that that implies, are an integral part of the work of Diane Desmarais. In fact, each picture becomes a stage on which the interactions between characters play and where the balance of power exults in loving pleasure. Her line, always sensual and rangy, and its ochre colour palette inevitably plunge the viewer into a world of the Thousand and One Nights, in which the body and soul based on long sensual Shakespearian ballads… ” Robert Bernier

Quebec artist painter, Diane Desmarais has participated in solo, duo and group exhibitions, while continuing to paint in different workshops: Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Hull, Ottawa), USA (Santa Fe, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York), Africa (Lamu, Nairobi), Belgium (Brussels), Japan (Tokyo), Thailand (Bangkok, Pipi Island), Spain (Barcelona, Malaga). She exhibited her paintings in Canada, the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe. Her works are part of many private and public collections throughout the world.


Diane Desmarais (1946)

Characters with strongly stylized, elongated, fluid bodies intertwine in an open, monochrome and refined space. The lines are fine, and the gesture that guides them betrays a certain feverishness. This singular universe is that of Diane Desmarais: a sensual world contained in a bubble, prisoner of her fantasies and passions. The body is the hostage, locked in its golden cage. A cage whose materiality is the jailer, with the illusions he maintains about the meaning of life by suggesting that the goal goes through ecstasy, that the only quest for the body is that by which it tries to capture pleasure, or even to keep it captive, just for oneself. 

But there is a price to pay for this temporary nirvana, for this pleasure in transit. This prize is combat; the wounds are numerous, the sorrows innumerable, the tears sometimes inexhaustible. The objective? To reach even for a precious moment, even for a very short one, the climax of contact, orgasm, the fusion between bodies but above all that of beings that intertwine, together forming an indestructible vessel leading towards eternity, that of the present. But the body ages, the passions pass and the desires fade. Never mind that the quest never ends. It will only be a greater epic. 

Source : Robert Bernier, La peinture au Québec depuis les années 1960, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 2002, Desmarais Diane Desmarais (1946), pages 253-254.