Martin Ouellette - The Beauty in the Banal
The Beauty in the Banal There is something sacred in the profane, something beautiful and lasting in the fleeting moment of forgotten things that get thrown away or left behind. My paintings are inspired from macro photographs of decaying objects found in the urban landscape; details of worn out magazines, wires, rusted nails or wooden poles layered with staples and torn up paper. These mass-produced items are used to serve a momentary purpose then left to decay in their natural surroundings. In this transitional state, in this moment somewhere between glory and gloom, I find a new world that is a part of every day life even though we rarely notice it. Only upon careful consideration, are there layers and layers of worlds existing within each other that unravel. Time and the cycle of life of these objects are what I find fascinating. I see the aesthetics of decay – a natural decay of the objects – as one aspect. Then there is the period of time and history materialized; time forms a unique trace of its trajectory, influenced by its surrounding environment and climate. At the same time, these objects are naturally evolving and slowly decaying to its death.
My paintings are created by capturing that perfect moment. I design my compositions by dissecting multiple photographs of the same item. Leaving behind the unimportant elements by blurring and blending them into the background. I highlight an area by creating another dimension with textures, gravel, dirt, wax, plaster, and at times sculpting through the actual wood canvas. When I add an image, I like to leave just enough elements of its original self: a pixilated image of a pop icon or graphic key words in order to form an identity to these abstractions. The image teases the viewers’ curiosity and their need to give definition to what they are looking at. As a result, a personal interpretation is formed of the overall piece.
For me the process of painting is a type of alchemy; where I create something unique from something else, the decayed objects or images are transformed in a new direction and is evolved into a form that goes beyond its original role or intention. Where a part of time and space is frozen in the moment that can never be recreated or recaptured. The beauty of decay is everywhere, it is a part of the cycle of life; it’s as unique and fragile as the world and the people that live in it.
“Man must see that nothing really is, but that everything is always becoming and changing. Nothing stands still. Everything is being born, growing and dying. The very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline. The law of rhythm is in constant operation. There is no reality. There is no enduring quality, fixity or substantiality in anything. Nothing is permanent but changes. Man must see all things evolving from other things and resolving him to other things, a constant action or reaction, in flow or out flow, building up or tearing down, creation or destruction, birth and growth and death. Nothing is real and nothing endures but changes.”