In a passage, the impression of catharsis.
At first glance, Dominique Meunier’s work is characterized by its radical composition and by its voids and realistic silences. It is distinguished by the obvious austerity of its shapes and by its dull and closely defined colour range. But the famous saying “Things are not always as they seem, appearances can be deceiving” holds true again when compared to Meunier’s artwork. As the perfect balance of yin and yang, his paintings also have filled forms and embracing curves. His work should be read as a genuine elegy to nature’s beauty in its most inspiring and soothing form.
His production process is complex and lengthy. Once the sand mortar is dry, he gets back to paint and pigments. He then removes by hand or using a trowel or a knife to adjust his work. As a philosopher, he does not let his work become static; he gives the opportunity for a second print birth which, by mending torments, allows us to see more clearly. His gesture is concrete, tangible and powerful as a breath; his painting is incorporated. The colour shades are warm, plant-based and mineral-based.
Before him, many famous impressionist painters left workshops and chose landscape as their preferred model. For several years, Paul Cézanne has painted ‘Saint Victoire’ and has put it in the foreground in order to find a way to reproduce the mountain’s unique convex shade. Dominique Meunier questions the vibrant, symbolic and bright side of nature. He prospects in the steadiness and the lines of a mountain in response to watercourse energy and depth. It’s an invitation to walk along winding side roads, like turning the pages of an introspective sketchbook of a meditative walker. The frequent close-ups and the narrow frameworks lead to out-field views. It’s in this gap and in the painting cracks where a cathartic search begins.
Dominique Meunier has had a near-death experience a few year ago.
Memories remained after this event, but also the ‘passage’ topic which is highly visible in his artwork. Many of his works refer to a Chinese poem dating back to the third century, written by Tao Yuanming, the father of landscape poetry. The poem tells a tale about a man who randomly discovers, while fishing, a passage leading into a happy, utopian and forgotten country. The fisherman, despite the numerous markings he left on the way, could never get back to the entrance of the secret world, with the persistent scent of peach blossoms.
It seems that, in Taoists beliefs, peach tree is the symbol of immortality.
For the artist, those fundamental and artistic journeys seem to have no other purpose than to lead us to the forgotten fulfilment path. The peace prevailing in the poetry and the balance of his landscapes takes us, in between transience and persistence, to a meditative state.
The nature seems to provide him an inexhaustible source of inspiration. As Claude Monet in Giverny before him, Dominique Meunier has his own indoor water garden. In the idealism of a reinvented Chinese nature and the Zen atmosphere of a Japanese garden, water lilies are floating, as well as the impression of a newfound absolute.
Sarah Heussaff, Art critic and French specialist in Disability Arts.