(Interview translated from French to English) RIOPELLE/CARSON - CHAMPLAIN CHAREST, PHYSICIAN-RESTAURANT OWNER, WINE AND ART COLLECTOR
CHAMPLAIN CHAREST : (Physician, restaurant owner and art collector)
I'm a radiologist by profession, so my life has been surrounded by images. I love to look at images and see through images and it's through images that I am able to meet the artist. The same goes for wine. Not only is there also an image in wine, but there is also an image of the artist?the one who made the wine?and then the image of the wine and the taste of the wine are another dimension, like a taste for painting, or a taste for music. It would take a long time to say everything about my passion for wine because it began...well, even during the 70's when I met Riopelle in France and I met him because I loved what he was doing. So I already had a lot of love for painting, music and many other things.
For me, Riopelle was one of the most important people that I have ever met in my life because he was completely different from me, from all points of view. Obviously, I'm not...I'm not a painter except that I can see and Riopelle had things to show me or teach me that I hardly knew.
When I met Carson, I already knew him somewhat by his painting because I had gone to visit one of the galleries showing his work on St. Paul Street...and similarly I was attracted by what he was doing. I had seen a diptyque that was being exhibited there--I found it absolutely wonderful?and I asked the lady that was there: Who is Carson? I didn't recognize this guy, so I wanted to meet him. And when I met him, I liked the person, which, for me, is important. As I was associated with Riopelle, here in the restaurant, Carson for me represented someone that I liked too. I really like getting to know people who paint what I like and Carson is one of these painters. He's a nice man with lots of education, a good spirit and, well, I would go on vacation with him any time for...for a while. So, if we could decide to go on vacation with someone, it means that we get along well. He comes here to the restaurant once in a while and then we always have delightful evenings, in a beautiful culture, with a polite and cultivated man--a gentleman, at that.
What does Carson want to represent in his paintings? For me it's the image of nature because in reality we see all of this color of beautiful things through the sun, through leaves, through flowers and so on, so we review nature by what it does. So, I think that the spirit behind all of this is stuck to the material things from nature which are the most beautiful things we can find. I think that Charles Carson has a very bright future because he takes care of his painting and he takes care of the people who buy his paintings. It's very important for a painter to follow up with the things he creates and for me, this is something human. So I think that if he continues to love people, I'm sure that his fans will all remain friends with him because he is great company and they'll continue to support him.
Charles really has a gift for positioning his masses so that we can find something that pleases us through his shapes, ...what is it? This is more difficult to say. Why? Well, that is also difficult to say. I interpret it through the forest, through nature, but others might interpret it through the stained-glass windows of a chapel or something like that...it's very difficult to say. People who buy a Carson like Carson right away. Carson's mosaic, for me, is a form of expression that is quite extraordinary in nature and for me the mosaic represents probably all the colors of nature that are mirrored in a different way by the way the sun passes through the leaves and the trees. So that's why it's a painting that, at the same time, is intimate because each one of us can make our own image or images and, for me, it's a painting that truly reflects nature.
Carsonism is a bit more concrete, from my point of view, than the mosaic; that is to say he made the marine background, he made the animals....in the water. For me, when I look at these slanted strokes across his paintings, I see snowstorms and rainstorms and other storms that I find them very well presented through the many colors that were so well chosen. To me, Carsonism and the mosaic are completely different. Which do I prefer? Even though I think that I prefer, ...oh, I'll buy them both. I buy mosaics for the light, the clarity and the quality and so on, and I buy Carsonism to see from the bottom of the sea what is happening because Charles is suddenly a man who did a lot of underwater diving and it's a pleasure to see the colors from the bottom of the sea.