Charles Gagnon was born in Montreal in 1934 and studied art in New York City from 1954 to 1960. A resident during the heyday of abstract expressionism, Gagnon admired the dramatic effects of a reduced palette, gestural application of paint and simplified structure in the work of artists such as Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell. Returning to Montreal in 1960, Gagnon – who was also a photographer and a film maker – worked with a variety of media. “Media are to be used”, he has said. “I don’t see any difference between film and photography and sculpture and painting and thinking and farming…It’s life that interests me”. He died in Montreal in 2003.
Because he was not limited by narrow definitions of media, Gagnon sought to express his personal vision and appreciated that painting, photography and film all allow him to explore the illusion of space on a flat surface.
Dynamic contrasts of black and white, combined with the free brushwork and the large scale of the painting, are a testimony to his study in New York.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian Art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, 2000, p. 115