photo de Artiste Sylca 1

 Credit photo Allison Cordner 

Artist’s statement

Popular wisdom has it that each voyage begins within. Also, each voyage allows me to feed my constantly growing appetite for textures, colours, fabrics, wood – all organic materials.

When I walk on city streets, down forest paths, or on ocean beaches, I seek human traces, animal footprints, and secrets buried in the sea. Colour is part of my DNA.

When I paint, I capture the energy of my environment; I immerse myself in it to give rise to human, animal, and plant forms.

Throughout my work, natural elements are side by side. Whether it is fire, found in the “Fuego” collection, or water and its movements, in the “Seen from Above” collection, nature is my main subject. The works transcend the dualities found in nature – strong and weak, cold and hot, evanescent and imposing. And transcending the real is second nature to me.

At home or abroad, I take hundreds of photographs of landscapes and faces. Photographs provide a record for my own memories of places visited. Abroad, I lay down on rolls of paper complete paintings of the country or sketches to finish when I return to Quebec.

I also record sounds and traditional music. Later, in my studio, I will draw on all of these memories to access my pictorial language. For example, when I went to China, I recorded, with his written permission, a young Chinese flautist. I then developed in my studio the “Thread of China” series in the recaptured ambience of that country. I want to transmit on canvas, precisely and accurately, my inner state influenced by an environment that is not my own.

The raw material for my works is mainly acrylic, shaped with knives and Asian brushes. To this are added ink stains. I work from opacity to transparency. I incorporate pigments, sculpt impasto on the canvas, embed gold leaf or bronze chips. In recent years, I’ve been integrating fibres, bristles, fragments of newspapers, rice paper, wood. All of these collages add depth to the paintings.

Recently, I have added encaustic to my approach; this ancient technique is performed with beeswax, pigments, and damar resin.

Often, a graffito that is part of an invented language is placed somewhere on the canvas or paper. This is a calligraphic figure, a gesture that is part of my artistic process. Sometimes the public sees it; sometimes it is concealed.

My work is inscribed in the memory of sounds and places, which accompany each other like pictorial poetry, tactile poetry, enabling the viewer to feel the universal, the beauty of the world.

About the artist

The artist Sylvie Carole Turcotte, known as Sylca, was born in Drummondville, on the banks of Rivière Saint- François, and grew up in the heart of Quebec, the third child in a family of six. The granddaughter of a weaver who worked for almost thirty years in a textile factory,

Sylca learned the craft of traditional weaving in her mid-twenties. Her father is a sculptor, and creativity is highly prized in this small family.

Her canvases, rich in textures and textile fibres, are almost organic. Simultaneously figurative and abstract, her works are composed mainly of acrylics and mixed materials.

Sylca’s works have been exhibited in Canada, France, and Belgium and received a “Great Distinction” mention in 2008 and 2009 from the Cercle des Artistes Peintres et Sculpteurs du Québec. She is a professional member of the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV) and Canadian Artists Representation (CARFAC). Her paintings are in private collections in a number of countries, including the United States, Italy, Australia, and Canada.

Catalogue Text


As the title of this exhibit indicates, Sylca: la route vers les sommets, Sylvie Carole Turcotte, alias Sylca, aspires to reach the heights of artistic expression. Indeed she spares nothing to pursue this lofty endeavour. Furthermore, she takes up the gauntlet with practically no training in art. Little wonder then that the pieces on display exude such verve.


In this vein, Rose Marine epitomizes what the present writer terms, superchromaticism, due to the cacophony of colours that loom larger than life on this canvas. Its visual impact comes from the predominance of red, blue, and yellow, i.e., the three primary colours. The artist employs them not merely to produce the secondary colours, green and orange, but rather to emulate a kaleidoscope. Like the latter, which reflect continually changing forms, the amorphousness of this painting evokes shape-shifting, an effect accentuated by its colours, which seem in a state of flux.


Bright colours cut a swath across the middle of Alégria #1, where they act as a horizontal axis that halves the picture plane. More to the point, they serve to simulate a vortex, that is to say, a mass of rotating or whirling fluid that tends to make everything spiral toward its centre. Not surprisingly therefore, this tableau gives viewers the impression of peering into the eye of the storm. By the same token, it vividly conveys a sense of beauty amidst turmoil.


Yet Alégria #1 clearly stands at some remove from figurative art, which portrays things perceived in the visible world. To what then do we attribute the vision articulated in this painting? The answer may lie in the theory of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), founder of psychoanalysis, the study of unconscious mental processes, namely those which one has without realizing it. Freud's seminal treatise, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), argues that through dreams an idea or feeling can change into a picture, so that the dream picture represents an unconscious regression from words to images. Could Alégria #1 constitute a dream picture? Perhaps—to the extent that Sylca creates intuitively and spontaneously all her works. In fact, she neither sketches, draws nor executes preliminary studies, prior to painting. We can thus best view her artistic process as a, 'stream of consciousness,' the literary term for a technique that endeavours to reflect mental life at the borderline of conscious thought.


This accounts for the so-called 'psychological' perspective exemplified by Le magicien de l'avenir. Here the artist depicts flowers in keeping with their psychological interest, rather than according to their natural proportions. Further, Sylca pushes figuration to the verge of abstract art, which does not imitate or directly represent external reality. She does so by adopting in effect the perspectival approach known as anamorphosis, from the Greek word meaning 'transform.' It probes the experience of seeing an object from a radical point of view that utterly distorts its form. In this light we discern how Le magicien de l'avenir mirrors a manic episode with its characteristically elevated, expansive, or irritable moods, accompanied by the flight of ideas, as well as concomitant distractibility and agitation. This manic scenario goes hand in hand with the painting's psychedelic colours. They signal a state of subjectively heightened perception and awareness.


In sum, the artwork of Sylvie Carole Turcotte involves more than meets the eye.

Norman F. Cornett, ph.d.

À Professor Norman Cornett, an independent scholar and translator, Norman F.Cornett,ph.d, explores the relationship between culture, politics, and religion. He publishes in American and Canadian academic journals, and gives workshops on the arts in French and English.

Don't look for Sylca

Don't look for Sylca, you won't find her.

Sylca is like energy, you can't see her.

And yet, she is here. She is everywhere.

Her colours manifest her presence!

Nature expresses itself in their tumult.

And that is Sylca: a force of nature!

And the magic of her painting resides in the

evocation of things.

She evokes them with such humanity that when

you look through her eyes, shapes are set free.

Shapes that look human ...

A painting by Sylca offers the possibility of

finding oneself in the heart of nature.

Sylca is life!

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Les œuvres présentées sur ce site sont protégées par la Loi sur le droit d’auteur du Canada. Toute reproduction totale ou partielle est formellement interdite sans l'autorisation écrite de Madame Sylvie Carole Turcotte.
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