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Blending the traditions of surrealism, cubism, and Fauvism, the artwork of René Lalonde approaches us with both the emotional force of vivid and unusual color, and the simplicity of flattened out planes, bringing the everyday to life with extraordinary intensity. Though his works are vibrant and intense, they somehow project a sense of calm, serenity, and at times easygoing buoyancy, leaving us wondering as to the nature of this paradoxical effect.
“Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocer” delves into a nostalgic feeling of a being a regular somewhere- in the coffee shop down the road, a late-night diner, or even the neighborhood grocery store. Produce and snacks line the window and are illuminated by the glow of the store’s signs. A classic ‘coca-cola’ advert peeks out from being a tall tree. Brick and teal green windows decorate the upper part of the store, where we can only imagine, the store owner themselves might live, kicking their feet up after a long day of work.
“Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocer” is an 18.5 x 18.5 – inch acrylic on canvas.
Lalonde was born in Montreal in 1950, the oldest of four children in a working-class family. He was drawn to the arts at an early age and bought his first serious set of paints, brushes, and canvases at age 12. He proved to be graced with a rich imagination, which flourished during his time spent at boarding school, a confining though ultimately inspiring environment. As the tumultuous 1960s unfolded, Lalonde was swept up in the excitement of rock and roll, the Beatles, and what was to become known as the “British Invasion.” The artistic movements spawned in the psychedelic revolution particularly drew Lalonde, leading him to the works of surrealists like Magritte, Dali and Ernst as he explored his own creative drive.