Artist, Guy Laramée

Artist, Guy Laramée
Knowledge usually unfolds, each fact layered upon and informing the one below. Remember when you wracked your brain, spending long hours to grasp a concept. Then, just as you relaxed and let go, the answer arrived - with an accompanying gasp of breath. It surfaced in an instant and with no further effort.
This is how I first understood the work of Guy Laramée. 
According to Mr. Laramée, "The erosion of cultures - and of "culture" as a whole - is the theme that runs through the last 25 years of my artistic practice. Cultures emerge, become obsolete and are replaced by new ones... some people are displaced and (their lives) destroyed."

Also, according to the artist, no amount of knowledge from books can change the inevitable. Birth and death are inevitable. In sitting at his mother's side as she merged from life into death, Mr. Laramée noted that, " fact, there was no "last breath". Each breath grew smaller and smaller. I took her pulse when it appeared that there would not be another breath." Then, "...there was no end. Only a growing silence which continues now."
Coinciding with the death of his mother, the artist compassionately felt the inevitable through the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe which devastated areas along the Pacific Coast of Tohoku. Both events marked an end to, not only lives given to death, but to the displacement of people.
Guan Yin (Kwan Yin), universal mother, plays a prominent role in Mr. Laramée's work. In India Kali is both creator and destroyer of form; destroying that which keeps us in bondage. In Christianity, Mary is the compassionate comforter. Here, the universal mother serenely watches over order - as illustrated by a large area of linen cloth "squares" attached to each other in one large expanse.
While the artist seems to give in to the powerlessness we feel in relation to life's inevitable situations, he presents us with the iconic mother - comforter, creator, destroyer of fears, problem-solver. In one of the artist's statements, he writes, "Everything we know, everything we did, everything we think we are, everything and everyone we love, all this will be wiped out." While sounding this note of fatalism, the artist also sends a message of well-being via Guan Yin. She stands as sentinel to the ever changing universal order that is reality.
Mr. Laramée also presents paintings and books (with contents carved into majestic mountains, volcanoes, a tsunami and other grand landscapes). All images seem to represent the ever-changing earth and all in it that is inescapable - as it shifts, shakes and issues forth both sustenance and deprivation - with a final note of recurring renewal.

Mr. Laramée has created works in varied  disciplines including writing and directing for the theater. He has received more than 30 arts grants. His work has been presented in North America, Europe, Japan and Latin America and exhibited in museums and galleries.
For more information, please visit the artist's website: Guy Laramée
All photographs, © Guy Laramée


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