I was born in Clermont, in the charming county of Charlevoix, Quebec, in 1957. A few years later, my family settled in Quebec City, where I grew up. My mother introduced me to the world of arts and crafts when I was a little girl and I learned to work with different materials: paper-mâché, wool, felt, thread, collage, wire, etc. Born into a family of artists, I was constantly stimulated and encouraged to develop my creative skills. During my teen years, I became fascinated with portraits and caricatures. I learned how to draw swiftly and nimbly, expressing what was on my mind or whatever caught my attention. Without my being aware of it, people figured prominently in my themes
When the time came for me to choose a career, I decided to study visual arts at the Sainte-Foy CEGEP. I continued my studies in graphic communications at Laval University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1980. I was a graphic designer for more than twelve years.
In 1990, I moved from Quebec to Chile, where I was most fortunate to be able to focus almost exclusively on painting. I took part in some major competitions and was a finalist on three occasions, which put me in the limelight. When I was in my early thirties, my first solo exhibition launched my career: the Embassy of Canada in Chile sponsored it to commemorate fifty years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Chile. That one event ushered in a nascent and promising career.
It was then that I met the art critic Victor Carvacho, member of the International Association of Art Critics. His glowing reviews would have a positive impact on me and boost my confidence in my abilities and myself.
This is what he wrote about me:
«This painter has a remarkable ability to create figurative art. There is no doubt that she is part of the “New Figuration” movement. This is not a throwback to archaic painting, but rather a continuation expressed as natural beauty in its entirety combined with artistic beauty. Expressive movements, such as those in Cubism, Expressionism, Geometric Abstraction and Surrealism, are unique to this contemporary artist and developed by her. New Figuration, art created by Lucie Gonella, integrates the expressive with the formal and is dominated by idealized beauty, a desire for dynamic expression and figuration-abstraction duality. Technical and aesthetic maturity is the mark of an artist who is able to use any technique with different artistic mediums. Her works profile a pictorial personality that is able to create soundly, energetically, freely and exemplarily in order to extract poetry from an image.»
I held exhibitions over the next five years and then my stay in Chile came to an abrupt end. I was compelled to leave my adopted country for health reasons. Upon my return to Quebec, my convalescence curbed my activities, kept me out of art galleries and isolated me from the art world; but that would only be temporary. I made the most of this period of reflection and was prolific as a result of the more objective take I had on my work.
I feel privileged to have acquired a wealth of experience and to be able to draw on it when I create my works of art. I express my tastes and affirm my choices through colours, action painting and themes. I mainly use a spatula to paint human figures. Transparency and layering created with this technique allow me to play with shapes and colours in a very personal way. With my spatula strokes, I blend my characters into the colours of the universe that surrounds them, creating an interesting play between figuration and abstraction; pictorial symbolization of the dual material-spiritual worlds.
I invite you to visit my world through my work. You will see how my approaches have evolved over the years, both as a Being and as an artist. However long and arduous my career path has been, it was a precursor to my artistic maturity and I now endeavour to express my love of, and respect for, life.