LO (Laurent Torregrossa)

Whether in port, at sea, in the heat of a regatta, whether beautiful or rusty sailboats, rowboats or ocean liners, LO’s boats always inspire a captivating majesty that leaves viewers dreaming, because his art is to make a story come alive with feeling.
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Biography

LO (Laurent Torregrossa) was born in 1964, in Mont Saint-Martin (France). He spent his childhood in Gorcy, a small village in Lorraine, near Longwy City. Drawing has always been part of his life; as a child, he dreamed of becoming a cartoonist. He nevertheless studied micro-mechanics. At the age of 18, he left for the French Riviera where he was a summer camp leader and seasonal worker. His childhood dream, still present in his mind, although abandoned in favor of the waves, the wind and the sea, finally led him to the School of Fine Arts in Toulon. Laurent Torregrossa, nicknamed “LO” (the diminutive form of Laurent) divides his summers and winters between windsurfing on the French Riviera and skiing in the Alps. It was only in 1989, when he finished his first fresco in Giens, that he really considered a professional career as a painter. He first made a name for himself in Europe, where he met with great success with his seascapes and his hyper-realistic style.

In 1998, he exhibited permanently in galleries in Old Quebec. He settled down permanently in Canada in December 2000. In June 2005, he became a Canadian citizen.

His brilliant professional career has resulted in several magazine covers, radio and television interviews, newspaper articles, and more. Since 1989, he has taken part in numerous international contemporary art fairs and art shows, which are among the ten largest art events in the world. There are therefore several press articles and exhibition publications in which we find his name. He exhibits on an ad hoc and permanent basis, both in personal and collective exhibitions as well as in galleries and other public places in Canada and Europe. He has been honored with numerous awards and honors during his career. He was named “Academician” by the International Academy of Fine Arts of Quebec (AIBAQ) in 2007, the same year of his entry as a signatory member of the Institute of Figurative Arts (IAF). He became a “Master of Fine Arts” in September 2018.

In addition to these associations, since 1997 he has been a member of the International Collective of Artists ArtZoom (CIAAZ) as well as the Free Arts of Longwy (in France). In May 2019, he became a statutory member of the Office of Visual Artists’ Groups of Ontario (BRAVO).

The artist has never lost sight of his Lorraine roots. He therefore never hesitated to exhibit in his native region, notably during an international exhibition on Vauban, in Longwy, in 2009, where one of his works was reproduced on a 3 x 4 meter canvas. His works have served as the cover for many books by authors from the Longwy region, some of his works have even been diverted to create an international buzz on the Internet. In addition, for several years, he has exhibited in France, Belgium and Canada alongside Bernard Hild, a multidisciplinary artist from Mont Saint-Martin.

LO is listed in various rating guides, both in North America and Europe. Present at Akoun for several years, he is also referenced at ArtPrice, the world leader in information on the art market, and at Saatchi; two places where he regularly sells his works online. He is also listed in the Government of Canada as a Canadian artist, in the Directory of Canadian Artists Lareau as well as on Wikipedia in the list of Canadian painters. As of 2018, he has his own Wikipedia page.

In Canada, he is actively present in several art galleries. He is represented by Art Total Multimédia, an artist agency that works on two continents. During his career, LO has participated in public sales intended to raise funds for humanitarian organizations in Canada, France and Belgium, the most important of which are: Les Restos du Coeur, Kiwanis International, Green Peace, The Red Cross, the Rotary Club, the French League against Multiple Sclerosis, etc. For several years, he was found annually in the art auction of La Croix-Rouge in Quebec. He alone helped raise several thousand dollars for La Croix-Rouge (Quebec division).

LO lives exclusively from his painting and, before 2020, had between 12 and 25 exhibitions per year on two continents at the same time. He celebrates his 30year career in 2019. Until now, he has exhibited in several Canadian and French museums. It is in at least two museum collections, one in Quebec, the other in France.

In 2017, a hundred-page monograph was published with selected works. In December 2018, all the works of the bilingual book “LO. Painter/Painter” are found in a permanent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art VR 3D, one of the rare museums entirely modeled in 3D which is geolocated in Longwy (France) where he was born.

In 2018-2019, the artist made an extensive tour of the fishing ports of the Atlantic provinces (first in Nova Scotia in December 2018, then New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island during the year 2019) with the aim of taking a multitude of photos for his future paintings in Canada. In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, deprived of the freedom to return to the Atlantic provinces to continue his exploration, LO set off for Gaspesia to discover new maritime horizons near Chaleur Bay. That same year, he was one of fifteen professional artists taking part in sociological research on the effects of the pandemic on the level of artistic practice among visual artists. The research continues in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, he makes several stays in Caraquet, in particular to present his exhibition “Au gré des marées” and to recharge his batteries near the sea. He becomes a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism of Grand Caraquet. He exhibits permanently at the gallery “Le coin des artistes inc. », located at Place SaintPierre in Caraquet (New Brunswick). In 2022, a 14-minute documentary, mainly filmed in 2021 in Caraquet, is broadcast on his artistic approach and his philosophy of life which revolves around his painting.

For many years, LO has been a world reference in realistic and hyper-realistic marine painting

Biography written by HeleneCaroline Fournier, art expert and art theorist, specialized writer, critic, appraiser in private and corporate collections. .

Artist’s statement

HIS ARTISTIC APPROACH

Aesthetics, harmony and tranquility are three fundamental elements that make up all of LO’s works. Aesthetics as a philosophical discipline behind the work, harmony in the tones and tranquility in the scenes. LO is fascinated by the sea and by the reflections in the water which create at every moment another image of reality, always in motion. His boats, whether in port, at sea, in the action of a regatta, whether they are sailboats, boats or ships, beautiful or rusty, always inspire a captivating majesty that leaves the spectator dreaming because the art of LO is to create sensation in a narration.

In some works, the spatial crossing from the foreground to the background suggests another more distant narration, but only that of the foreground matters to LO, who lives in the present moment, who does not seek to see the future time. We notice this character trait in all of his paintings: the foreground is always very detailed. The shadows are discreet on the bridge and in the drapes; it is one of the characteristics of the artist who leaves nothing to chance. The ropes have their share of shadow and light, the varnished pulleys also reflect this surprising daylight. It is the care given to the smallest details that makes us understand that the artist spends a lot of time on each of them – up to 400 hours.

The artist usually goes to ports and marinas, to capture the particular atmosphere of the place. He takes countless photos from which he draws inspiration and then reworks the composition in his workshop studio. His subjects come from all over, including France, Ontario and the Atlantic region. He particularly likes the light which differs from one place to another

Looking more closely, particularly in his works produced from 2010, we find several geometric elements (triangles, circles and squares) located in strategic places, calculated on the principle of the golden ratio. His compositions are calculated to give a quiet balance in a suggested movement, in particular by water and wind. The interest of the golden ratio does not lie so much in the mathematics applied in the field of painting, it lies above all in the correctness of the proportions in subtle perspectives which form a balanced whole, which is intended to be fundamentally realistic. For LO, art – like life – is an experience of balance.

It’s all in the relationship: in perfect proportion there is a perfect relationship. The parties are in the same relation to each other. The artist and the canvas are one. They vibrate in unison in a metaphorical harmony. The artist is in harmony with what he creates and the creation turns out to be harmonious for whoever looks at it.

Along with this philosophical discipline of aesthetics and alongside the use of divine proportion, there is also a great admiration for Japanese traditions. The precise gesture, practiced in an almost religious asceticism, meets the fundamental values of LO. Sobriety, counting, discipline and the essential are important virtues in the balance of life of the artist, we find them even in his paintings. Paradoxically, although LO paints realistic and hyperrealistic boats, the primary subject is abstract: freedom.

USE OF THE GOLDEN RATIO

The golden ratio has been around for a very long time. Also known as the divine proportion, whose principle remains shrouded in mystery, it is found in nature, the arts and sciences. Its presence is in the plants, the shells, the wind and the stars. Its shape is coiled in the heart of the spiral of our inner ear and reflected by the constant mutation of the human embryo.

The study of the golden ratio offers an understanding of the complexity of the universe. It allows you to discover a relationship between harmony, symmetry, balance and regeneration. The laws of proportion used by artists derive from fundamental truths in the spiritual realm; they are at the heart of life, from DNA to the contours of the universe. Euclid of Alexandria, a famous mathematician, was the first to express the divine proportion in words: “We say of a right that it is divided between extreme and average reason when the ratio of the entire line to its largest segment is equal to the ratio of this largest segment to the smallest”.

Translated into geometric language, this proportion takes the form of the pyramids of Egypt, the Athenian Pantheon or the great Gothic cathedrals. For millennia, artists and craftsmen have constantly used the golden ratio and their secret principles to achieve perfection.

The dimension of the golden ratio, whether macrocosmic or microcosmic, reveals wisdom in an infinity of expressions: science, philosophy, music, poetry, architecture, painting, etc.

Applied to the painting, the golden ratio is used to place elements: a boat mast, the horizon line, shapes or marine elements that will harmonize with the whole composition. Nothing is the result of chance. Sometimes the choice of the size of the canvas is itself the result of a golden proportion that the square cannot offer.

HIS APPROACH WITH WATERCOLOUR

The reflections in the water – one of the thematic elements dear to LO – evolve towards urban contrasts which always refer to this other ever-changing reality that are the reflections in the water. Men and women rub shoulders, ignoring each other. All men are alone, whether at sea or on land. The artist has deliberately used water (watercolour) as a vector of transmission, with his hyperrealistic style. Late 2015/early 2016, he began a decisive turning point with a series of hyperrealistic watercolours on the theme of urban reflection: reflection in water (in the rain) and reflection on the world in which we live. His approach with watercolour takes its origin in Ottawa (Ontario), the city in which he lives alternately with Quebec and which is his second source of inspiration after the St. Lawrence River.

Since boats were absent from the Ottawa landscape, LO found a whole new subject in downtown. His watercolours nevertheless always touch on another image of reality, thanks to the reflections on the roadway, wet with rain, where the lights of the city are reflected. LO likes this harmonious blend of Yin and Yang and the effect of movement in stillness.

ABOUT THE ATLANTIC PROVINCES

In addition to Ontario and Quebec, the artist has had a very special emotional bond with New-Brunswick since 2001. It was in 2018-2019 that he toured the fishing ports of the provinces of Atlantic (first in Nova Scotia in December 2018, then New-Brunswick and Prince Edward Island during 2019) with the aim of taking a multitude of photos for his future paintings. He misses the sea and he revitalizes himself with it, preparing many personal exhibitions on the subjects of fishing boats in the Atlantic region. After exhibiting in Tracadie-Sheila (NB) in 2004, the province of New-Brunswick is making a strong comeback in his achievements. From Fall 2019, LO began to change his colors. The skies took on a different hue. Blue seems to give way to warmer, even more pastel colors. A symbolic link also reads it to Joshua Slocum, the first navigator to sail around the world in solo. The story of his circumnavigation on the Spray, a 37-foot wooden sloop, has moreover inspired many contemporary navigators as well as painters, such as LO, himself a former navigator and sailor.The fact that the two men were born on the same day certainly intensifies this special bond.

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, deprived of the freedom to return to the Atlantic provinces, LO set off for Gaspesia to explore new maritime horizons near the Chaleur Bay. In 2021, he presents a two-month personal art exhibition in Caraquet entitled “Au gré des marées”, after having postponed it for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, he spends a long time in Caraquet, in several stays which make him meditate on the need to live near the sea.

The 14-minute documentary “Comme un poisson dans LO” will also be produced during 2021 and will finally be broadcast in January 2022. In 2022, another personal art exhibition, entitled “A bon port” is scheduled for September and October in Caraquet (NB).

In 2022, another personal art exhibition, entitled “A bon port” is scheduled for September and October in Caraquet (NB).

Artistic approach written by HeleneCaroline Fournier, art expert and art theorist, specialized writer, critic, appraiser in private and corporate collections

C.V.

Professional Memberships

  • International Collective of Artists Art Zoom (CIAAZ)
  • Académie Internationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec (AIBAQ)
  • Institut des Arts Figuratifs (IAF)
  • Société Arts et Culture de Cap-Rouge (SACCR)
  • Coopérative Artistique Les Etchemins (CAE)
  • Les Arts Libres de Longwy (AL)
  • Academician Artist (Académie Internationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec)
  • Certified international professional artist
  • Signatory member of l’Institut des Arts Figuratifs (IAF)

Awards

2015:Monthly public vote, October (AIBAQ)
2015:Monthly public vote, September (AIBAQ)
2015:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2015:Monthly public vote, July (AIBAQ)
2015:Monthly public vote, June (AIBAQ)
2015:Internation’ART Prize 2015 (public vote) – Internation’ART, 5e édition
2015:Monthly public vote, March (AIBAQ)
2015:CIAAZ Painting Grand Prize (public vote)
2015:Monthly public vote, January (AIBAQ)
2014:Monthly public vote, November (AIBAQ)
2014:Jules Bastien-Lepage Prize – Winner of the 8th Jules Bastien-Lepage Prize Competition, Damvillers (France)
2014:Internation’ART 2014 Prize (public vote) – Internation’ART, 4th edition
2014:1st Prize at the 18th International Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture in Audun-le-Tiche (France) in the oil and acrylic category
2014:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2014:Monthly public vote, April (AIBAQ)
2013:Monthly public vote, October (AIBAQ)
2013:Monthly public vote, September (AIBAQ)
2013:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2013:Internation’ART 2013 Prize (public vote) – Internation’ART, 3rd edition
2012:Monthly public vote, June (AIBAQ)
2011:CIAAZ Painting Grand Prize (public vote)
2010:Public vote (Maison des Arts et de la Culture de L’Ancienne-Lorette) – Exhibition « Nos Cousins Français »
2010:Honorary president – Nos Cousins Français
2009:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2009:CIAAZ Painting Grand Prize (public vote)
2009:Honorary president – La Grande Exposition Internationale d’ArtZoom
2008:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2008:Monthly public vote, April (AIBAQ)
2008:CIAAZ Painting Grand Prize (public vote)
2007:Monthly public vote, August (AIBAQ)
2007:Title of “Academician” , Académie Internationale des Beaux-Arts du Québec
2003:Certificate of recognition as an artist of international level by an artist agency in Canada
Years prior 2000:Many public prizes at exhibitions in Europe
From 1989 to today: Many selections with jury etc.

Visitthe gallery

208, Richelieu St., Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (Quebec) J3B 6X8
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thursday and Friday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
450-741-3939
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