The Canadian Art Database
 

   
VIDEO PORTRAITS

Rita Letendre

Video clips © CCCA & Linda Corbett_Eyeris Inc. 2008
Note: some videos may take 15-30 seconds to preload before playing.


Les Automatistes

Rita Letendre met the Automatistes when she attended one of their exhibitions. Initially caught by the colour and energy in the paintings, she quickly got to know the group of artists and showed with them in 1954. Although Letendre, “was more interested in art”, the Automatiste ideology and manifesto was a major influence on Québec politics and the Quiet Revolution of the 1960’s.

running time: 3:36
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Refus Global

Refus Global was the manifesto of the Automatiste group of painters launched by writer, artist and activist Paul-
Émile Borduas in 1942. Inspired by French Surrealism and and its theory of automatism, the group challenged the insular, authoritarian society of Québec in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Borduas’ “brilliant” mind had a definative influence on Rita and many other artists. Says Letendre, “You have to discover who you are, then be yourself, no matter what”. That was the legacy of Borduas.

running time: 1:49
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Essence

Rita approaches her painting with “no pre-conceived idea” of the final image. Influenced by the Zen concept of living in the moment, she follows her instincts and lets, “the painting develop itself while its being done”. Using music to “cancel out” the world outside, she is not surprised to see the influence of composers and musicians like Wagner and Glenn Gould on her work.

running time: 6:23
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Murals

Rita talks about her mural work including Sunforce, commissioned for the University of California, which has been carefully preserved and rennovated. Sadly, all of her Toronto projects including Irowakan, Royal Bank Plaza, the Glencairn Subway Station mural ceiling and the top of the Neill-Wycik Building have been destroyed. We get a sense of the majesty of these massive artworks, some of them 60 by 60 feet in size, from Rita’s archival photographs shown in this clip.

running time: 6:18
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Vibration

Rita Letendre’s work captures the energy, colour and
movement of the forces of nature. In this clip, Rita charts the evolution of her shapes and techniques in paintings from Arrêt (1965) to Undar (1977).

running time: 2:30
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Drawing

Working in her Toronto studio, Rita shares her technique of
working with oil pastel.

running time: 1:45
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Spirituelle

Rita talks about how her personal beliefs are reflected in her artwork. A strong sense of the eternal quality of all things and a deep respect for the beauty of the universe forms the heart of her philosophy. Mankind’s struggle with good and evil, echos through all the world’s religions, but only nature is never cruel

running time: 4:39 [in french only]
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