Mathieu Lefèvre was a funny, handsome, über-talented contemporary artist much loved by his family, his friends and his fans far and wide. He grew up on his parents’ spacious acreage near Rollyview in Leduc County, and had a passion for art born in his late teens. He triumphantly pursued his dream of an art career in Montreal where he studied at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) and finally in New-York. Whenever his art was displayed, people appreciated his originality and creative genius, his humor and joie-de-vivre, his connection with iconic artists, all of his lively spirit translated on the canvas by his talented paintbrush.
Mathieu was 30 years old when his life and career were abruptly ended when cycling home late one night after a long day at the canvas, he was struck by a vehicle and tragically died on October 18, 2011. A brilliant artist’s dream had suddenly come to an end, breaking the heart of those who loved him most.
It was a complex and costly challenge to claim and return to Canada Mathieu’s numerous works of art that were created and stored in New-York. His parents Alain and Erika Lefèvre made themselves a promise that their son’s career would survive Mathieu’s untimely passing. The day has come when their son’s art legacy would be shared with many in his native Alberta through an exhibit of Mathieu’s art.
On Saturday, November the 29th, the PAVA Gallery south of Edmonton’s downtown core launched an exhibit entitled, “Mathieu Lefèvre: Retrospective”. This exhibit was the result of years of a loving and time-consuming planning. With heart and creative energy, a collector’s book has been published with photographs of Mathieu’s art crediting various photographers, interspersed with comments from art critics, curators and gallery owners who all share an admiration and deep understanding of Mathieu Lefèvre’s art. This book, a comprehensive exposé of Mathieu Lefèvre’s artistic legacy, is for sale online and at the PAVA Gallery of Edmonton, a division of the Société Francophone des Arts Visuels de l’Alberta. (Francophone Society of Visual Artists of Alberta).
Regional art lovers also joined in, attracted by the CBC’s dynamic promotion of the exhibit launch. From his native area, Rick Smith, Leduc County Councillor and Beaumont High School Social Studies teacher Mark Halun came to pay their respects and admire Mathieu’s art.
Mathieu’s childhood humour and his intellectual intensity inspired his work. Many of his paintings include several layers of paint, in a sculptural style, such as the thick, pyramidal piece titled “La peinture, c’est lourd” (“Paint is heavy”). Growing up, Mathieu attended Beaumont’s French immersion schools with his siblings, played the clarinet and saxophone, acted on stage and TV and even had a credited role in a 1997 feature film, Silent Cradle. His passion for life is felt strongly in his art.
This is the first exhibit of his art in Alberta. In previous years, Mathieu’s art had been displayed and hailed as brilliant in several exhibits, at Toronto’s respected Angell Gallery, which specializes in innovative work by new artists, at the division Gallery in Montreal and at the prestigious Prague Biennale of contemporary art where he was one of a half-dozen Canadian artists selected to represent our country. The exhibit will run for the next few weeks at the PAVA Gallery from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am- 4pm, at 9524-87 Street, in the Strathearn area of Edmonton.
The Mathieu Lefèvre Memorial Fund is an endowment fund created in Mathieu’s memory to help and support emerging artists, which the book sales will contribute to. The exhibit Launch took place on the afternoon of Saturday, November 29, attended by art critics, media and members of the Franco-Albertan community and of the Alliance Française. The PAVA Gallery director Gisèle Boutin Desjardins joined Mathieu’s parents Alain and Erika Lefèvre in expressing her pleasure at the planning and success of the exhibit. Mathieu Lefèvre’s art legacy is lovingly preserved by his family, the art collectors who already own some of his work and the contemporary art lovers who will be anxious to tour the Edmonton exhibit.
Pictured: Artist Mathieu Lefèvre. Submitted photo