Bron­son Jacque

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS - by Evan Pavka

From the rush of a dog team rac­ing across the frozen Nu­natsi­avut land­scape to fish­ing near the puls­ing Pin­ware River, St John’sbased painter Bron­son Jacque has honed a vis­ual lan­guage all his own—one laden with time and mem­ory that soft­ens the edges in a loose, hazy nat­u­ral­ism. “When I was grow­ing up, I didn’t re­al­ize I needed glasses so ev­ery­thing I saw was blurry ex­cept for things that were near me,” the artist ex­plains. This early ex­pe­ri­ence with the me­chan­ics of op­tics and the shift­ing na­ture of hu­man vi­sion has found its way into his paint­ing prac­tice, which heav­ily favours im­agery that in­vites a viewer’s close at­ten­tion and plays with their un­der­stand­ing of dis­tance and per­spec­tive.

Jacque, who has come to be known for his evoca­tive and of­ten dreamy scenes, was raised in an ar tis­tic fam­ily from Postville, Nu­natsi­avut, NL, and has been en­gaged in mak­ing since an early age. “It’s just some­thing that we do up in Labrador, cre­at­ing things,” says Jacque. “We like to make things with our hands, it makes us feel proud—shar­ing the things that are on our mind.”

Though he no longer re­sides in Nu­natsi­avut, the ar tist fondly re­calls child­hood memories of liv­ing near the ocean, and they res­onate in his work: “When you’re a kid ev­ery­thing feels beau­ti­ful. By cap­tur­ing this same qual­ity in a paint­ing, for me, it makes the sub­ject feel much more in­ti­mate and per­sonal.” Af­fect is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in his prac­tice: “I’m in­ter­ested in trans­lat­ing a mo­ment or a feel­ing,” he adds about scenes like Trap­pers Cove (2019) that combine the in­tan­gi­bil­ity of mem­ory with his soft touch.

Trap­pers Cove de­picts the strik­ing sil­hou­ette of a fish­ing boat caught in roil­ing wa­ters, vi­brat­ing with vis­i­ble strokes of plum, lilac, marigold and coral that re­lay the flick­ing evening light across the wa­ter’s sur­face.

The urge to cap­ture fleet­ing mo­ments per­vades works such as Un­cle Doug’s Wharf

(2019). Here a lone fish­er­man tra­verses a hu­man-made land­scape of patch­work boards, planks and ply­wood pan­els that mend years of use, all of it dis­solv­ing into early-morn­ing mist. Be­hind him, a bright tan­ger­ine buoy, a cerulean-tipped qa­mu­tiik and an olive fish­ing net punc­tu­ate the other­wise muted scene. The at­mos­phere is pal­pa­bly thick, and the viewer feels the in­escapable vast­ness of the sea and sky as a bridge, boat and sim­i­lar coastal mark­ers are grad­u­ally ab­sorbed into the dis­tant fog. For the artist, whose fam­ily has long worked on the wa­ter, scenes such as this evoke another kind of aura. “The wharf is a so­cial place, a place to gather and a place where peo­ple make their liv­ing,” he ex­plains. “It is a very vi­tal part of a small com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially on the north coast of Nu­natsi­avut where you get your food from the sea.”

Jacque works full-time as an artist and re­ceives steady com­mis­sions rang­ing from fam­ily por­traits to a large-scale paint­ing for the in­au­gu­ral ex­hi­bi­tion of the Inuit Art Cen­tre in Win­nipeg, MB, which opens in 2020 and has Jacque brac­ing for an ex­cit­ing year ahead. He looks for­ward to ex­plor­ing more ab­stract ter­rain in the fu­ture while also re­main­ing com­mit­ted to hon­ing his abil­ity to cap­ture the fleet­ing and ephemeral across his work: “I re­ally want to present dif­fer­ent mo­ments to peo­ple. Cre­at­ing art is about shar­ing stories and com­mu­ni­cat­ing and is a great way of giv­ing your­self to some­one else, in an in­ti­mate and per­sonal way.”

BE­LOW Bron­son Jacque (b. 1995 Postville/ St. John’s) — Her­itage Dog Team Race 2019 Oil 40.6 × 101.6 cm PHO­TOS COUR­TESY THE ARTIST

BE­LOW Un­cle Doug’s Wharf 2019 Oil 40.6 × 50.8 cm

RIGHT Re­bar Work­ers 2016 Coloured pen­cil 20.3 × 25.4 cm

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