The Art Perspective blog is a collection of thoughts, musings, and reflections on art, artists, and current happenings in the art world. 

Remembering a Legend: Marcel Barbeau

We need artists. In fact, we may need artists today more than we ever have in the past. With the amalgamation of print media, journalists losing their jobs and their voices, multimedia giants laying off credible reporters by the hundreds, we need a voice providing commentary. We need public discussion and an informed electorate. And isn't that part of the role art has always played? Reflecting back to society what is currently happening? Providing a visual commentary on injustice, on rights, and on freedoms. 

Marcel Barbeau was an early pioneer, he was a crusader against a system that was restrictive and limiting. He was an influential painter, and sculptor and led the abstract art movement. That wasn't the only movement he was a part of though; in 1948 along with a group of Montreal based artists, he broke with tradition and the Catholic Church by signing onto the Refus Global Manifesto, which argued for greater freedom of expression, and a more open education system. 

Barbeau lived and worked all over the globe, from Paris to New York, and from California back to Montreal. He has been celebrated for his work with the Order of Canada in 1995, with the Prix Paul-Emile Borduas (Quebec's highest recognition for an artist) in 2013, as well as with the Governor General's Award for Visual Arts. His works are in personal, private and corporate collections all over the United States, Canada and Europe.

Mr. Barbeau passed away on January 2nd, of this year and there is no doubt that he will be remembered for his extraordinary work, and for his revolutionary fight for freedom of expression. I will remember him as someone who forged a new path, as someone who thought differently than his peers, and as someone who wasn't afraid to be the change that he was seeking.