M A N U E L C A N C E L
"Trees are everywhere and depicted by the artist as individual personalities in the landscape. These are long lost friends that he revisits on occasion, and under whose branches and amongst whose shadows he can rest to enjoy tranquillity, comfort and peace."
- Robert Landau
Landau Contemporary is proud to present an online solo exhibition of works by Argentinian artist, Manuel Cancel.
Cancel creates figurative, not classical landscapes, devoid of any human references; he revels in the unspoiled prairie vistas of his youth, recorded for posterity in exacting detail.
Cancel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951. He began his artistic studies at the University of Buenos Aires, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture in 1973. In 1974, he studied stage design and in the late 1970s, he travelled extensively through Europe.
After settling in France in 1980, Cancel's nostalgia for his homeland eventually motivated him to create a series of canvases inspired by the South American windswept pampas that he rode across in his youth, a cathartic process designed to quell his longing. These wistful landscapes would act as a surrogate for his memory, hanging on the walls of his apartment in his adopted country, tangible yet oneiric, revealing their roots in magic realism.
"We can sense some trace of colours that we hide from others, they are more or less intense. From which arise inaccessible territories. They must be obsessive interior landscapes from a mysterious and sensual place."
- Manuel Cancel
In a few short years, the artist was mounting solo exhibitions in Paris and was included in a number of group shows throughout France and England. By the late 1990s, his work achieved international recognition with solo exhibitions in Argentina, Europe and North America, the Argentinian landscapes always being a central feature of his paintings.
Painstakingly rendered, Cancel's works are a hyper-realistic fusion of memory, imagination and geography, all perfectly balanced to impress upon the viewer the sense of awe, tranquillity and rapture the artist experienced confronting nature.
Ethereal and haunting, these works attempt to portray the drama and solitude of the human response to nature. By inflecting his paintings with a sense of melancholy and yearning, Cancel makes them both memorable and familiar.
Cancel still travels extensively for exhibitions or to experience new landscapes, but he regularly returns to South America to revisit the countryside of Uruguay, Argentina and especially the Patagonian highlands that continue to inspire him.
"I'm attracted to the movement, the grass, the shadows on the green. I feel like you could disappear inside the grass, like there's a deep mystery to it because you don't know what's behind it and you could get lost," Cancel told the Sun-Sentinel on the eve of an exhibition in the USA, then added with a laugh, "Someone should probably call a psychoanalyst on me."
To create these ethereal landscapes, Manuel employs a vibrant palette of green, gold and russet with which he meticulously renders expansive grasslands that swell and collapse like ocean waves.
"Your palette is your palette. A critic or an expert will always recognize you by the colours you use."
- Manuel Cancel
Cancel paints in an immaculately ascetic workshop in Paris, where he's planted grass that must be watered and cared for. In this space, in the heart of the city, Cancel recreates Argentian landscapes from photos and from memory, where there are no vestiges of man.
The artist begins with an idea that he fleshes out in drawings with a very fine graphite pencil, and then he creates the first draft with diluted colours. He prefers acrylic paints because they dry quickly, which fosters his productivity and reveals the skeleton of an idea more readily. The colours he uses are especially important, he says, since every artist is identified by their palette; which is more revealing than his signature.
In a 2014 interview, Cancel was asked how his landscapes come into being. The artist replied: "They transform. I choose a piece, I work it, I cut it. They lose the reference of the horizon, the sky, as the gaze is directed towards the earth. They are details, abstractions without context. Sometimes only the shadows of the trees remain. They become universal landscapes."
"For me, painting is a mystery, how from the colours in a tube, in a pot and afterwards onto the palette, all this ends up in a work of art?...This is for me remains totally magical."
- Manuel Cancel
The artist demonstrates his mastery of the landscape format not only through the intricately detailed blades of grass but Cancel also uses his personalized palette to create unusually elongated canvases.
These panoramic works are reminiscent of wide-angle lens photography and reveal the vast expanse of Manuel's memory of summers spent in the coastal city of Punta del Este, Uruguay, and visiting the family's estancia, or cattle ranch, during Easter, and the creativity with which he handles his subject; the pervading sense that "mysterious things" are just beyond view.
When asked to define his paintings Cancel noted that they are, "Figurative. Landscapes, but not classic landscapes; with a different look, stripped of human references. Perhaps it is an ideal world."
"Nature is what inspires me, the environment. Greenery, waters, the skies, the movement of grass in the wind..."
- Manuel Cancel
Cancel has received considerable international recognition since his first solo exhibitions in the 1980s, and has exhibited internationally at a number of prestigious galleries and museums on four continents, including the Argentine Embassy in Paris. His works have been shown, among others, at the Palais Palffy in Vienna, at the Espace AGF in Paris and at the Musée de la Mer in Biarritz and the Ramis Barquet gallery in Monterrey, Mexico.
The artist's works have also been acquired by several major Argentinean collections including the Amalia Lacroze de Fortaba and the Centro Cultural Recoleta.
Many of his paintings have been purchased or commissioned by important private collectors around the world at major international contemporary art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Chicago, TEFAF Maastricht and FIAC in Paris among others. Since its opening in 2005, Landau Contemporary at Galerie Dominion has been privileged to host a selection of Cancel's works.
"Their true nature is that of territories, both precise and fluctuating in memory, reflections of a distant nature that could not be revisited without disappointment. Only in Manuel Cancel's refined and elemental painting is the boy who saw him the first time alive."
Manuel Cancel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his artistic studies at the University of Buenos Aires, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture and later in Stage Design. Although he has been living predominately in Paris for over twenty years, the inspiration of the windswept pampas that he rode across in his youth is still prevalent in his work.
Cancel returns regularly to his native South America in order to revisit the countryside of Uruguay, Argentina and, especially, the Patagonian highlands; where he revels in the unspoiled landscapes that are subsequently recorded for posterity on his canvases.
Employing a vibrant palette of green, gold, and russet, the artist meticulously renders expansive grasslands that swell and collapse like ocean waves. The landscapes are tangible yet dreamlike, revealing their roots in magic realism.
Cancel has received considerable international recognition since his first solo exhibitions, and has exhibited internationally at a number of prestigious galleries. The artist's works have also been acquired by several major Argentinean collections including the Amalia Lacroze de Fortaba and the Centro Cultural Recoleta. In addition, many of his paintings have been purchased by important private collectors around the world at major international contemporary art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Chicago, TEFAF Maastricht and FIAC in Paris among others. Since its opening in 2005, Landau Contemporary at Galerie Dominion, in Montreal, has been privileged to host a selection of Cancel's works; where his most recent paintings are presently on display.
Landau Contemporary Exhibition Catalogue
Selected Solo & Group Exhibitions
2017 Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires
2016 Mairie du 20e arrondissement, Salon d´honneur, Paris
2014 Rosenbaun Contemporary, Boca Ratón Miami, Florida
2013-14 “El Colectivo X ans ” Cité Universitaire Internationale, Paris
2012 Galerie Argentine, Paris
2011 “Identités” Maison d’Argentine, Cité Universitaire de Paris
2010 Fernelmont Contemporary, Chatêau de Fernelmont, Belgium
2009-2010 “America Latina”, Maison d’Argentine, Cité Universitaire de Paris
2009 Art Protects, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris
2009 Paris el Tigre en colectivo, Museo de Arte Tigre, Buenos Aires
2009 Galerie Racim, Alger, Algeria
2008 Carré Rive Gauche, Galerie Xavier Nicolas, Paris
2007 Galerie Dominion, Landau Fine Art, Montreal
2007 Galerie Xavier Nicolas, Paris
2006 Lila Mitre Espacio de Arte, Buenos Aires
2005 Ateliers de Ménilmontant, Portes Ouvertes 2005, Paris, France
2005 Galerie Argentine, Ambassade Argentine a Paris, France
2001 Jay Grimm, New York, USA
1999 Prix de Diane-Hermes, Chantilly, France
1999 Galerie Argentine, Ambassade Argentine à Paris, France
1996 Art House, Buenos Aires
1995 Musée de la Mer, Biarritz
1995 Nicholas Davies, New York, USA
1997 Pace Wildenstein, emerging artists, New York, USA
1985 Palais des Arts, École des beaux-arts, Toulouse, France
1984 Art Curial, Paris, France
We thank you for visiting our online exhibition. Please contact the gallery to find out more about this exceptional artist. Studio images are the property of the artist.