Art in all its forms, the sacred, and the interrelations of the two are at the heart of a quest that began in Daniel LeBlond’s youth and eventually led him across the world. First attracted to cinema, he obtained a certificate in screenwriting at the Université du Québec à Montreal. Pursuing his studies in Paris, he graduated in 1982 from the École des Hautes Études Supérieures de cinématographie. Four years later, he directs “Le Pas” (The Step), a film distributed both in France and in Quebec. Other works would emerge over the course of the next five years: the video-fiction “L’Enfant aux goélands” (The Seagull child) in 1989, followed by the media production “Au Coeur du monde” (At the heart of the world) in 1990, and then in 1991, an exhibition at the Centre Paul-Lejeune composed of a series of photographs taken in Mexico, as well as installations.
Led by his interest in art history and aesthetics, he also studied at the École du Louvre in Paris in 1982 and undertook a research project in philosophy on the theme of symbols at the Université de Montréal in 1988. Eventually moving towards aesthetic theology, his exploration of Hans Urs Van Balthazar’s work “Aesthetic aspects of revelation” earned him a Master’s degree in 1991. Upon graduation, an internship opportunity took the artist to Egypt, where he immersed himself in Egyptian culture and art.
Since then, LeBlond’s artistic practice centers on the plastic arts. To supplement his personal work in the studio, he studied ink techniques with Marcel Lapointe and oil techniques through the teachings of Arthur Pépin. After enrolling in “Drawing and Colors” courses at the Université de Montréal in 1994, he spent five years working in studio under the guidance of Andrée Massot-Boutilliet, former pupil of Albert Gleizes. Finally, he complemented his artistic training with two internships: first in Israel to study iconography with Sister Marie-Paul Farran in 2000, and the second in Tokyo to practice Zen and calligraphy with Teirayama Sensei, in 2001.
After ten years of studio work, LeBlond exposed the fruits of his research for the first time with the “Signes et regards” (Signs and gaze) exhibit, presented in 2001 at the Gésu-Centre de créativité as part of its “Sacred Arts” event.
In 2004, through his first solo exhibition “Existence”, the artist reveals his inquiries into man’s place on this earth, as well as the answers he finds in the indissoluble bond between art and the sacred.
In July 2004, the Superior General of the Jesuits appoints LeBlond to the position of Superior in both the Province of French Canada and the Haitian territory.
In 2006, LeBlond presents “Mystère” (Mystery), a second solo exhibition exploring the extended potential of the altarpiece through a pathway of 18 paintings (oil on wood), paired with a series of reflections published by the artist. Inaugurated in Montreal at the Gésu-Centre de créativité in March and April 2006, “Mystère” later travels to Europe where it is hosted first at the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels (Belgium) from June 23rd to September 5th 2006, then at Le Havre Cathedral (France) from November 12thto December 3rd 2006. Several works from that series were also exposed in 2008 at the Artemis Gallery in Rome in a collective exhibit.
Summer 2006 is devoted to a new series of works under the theme “Descendre des autels” (Descending from altars), later revealed at the Gésu in 2007.
In 2007-2008, another series titled “Souffle I” (Breath I) is exposed at Boston College’s Weston School of Theology and at the Charlesbourg library in Quebec City. A combination of this series with a second installment, “Souffle II” (Breath II), was presented in Montreal in fall 2009 at the Gésu-Centre de Créativité.
In 2008, Daniel LeBlond participates in a collective exhibition named “Art et Salut” (Art and Salvation) in the framework of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary.
While LeBlond’s visual works appear on the cover of various publications, he is an author himself with several published articles on art and spirituality. Active in the arts community, he was the artistic director of the Gésu-Centre de Créativité from 1991 to 2006 and from 1997 to 2015 was chair of the board of the MAI (Montréal Arts Interculturels), which he cofounded. Furthermore, he has acted as commissioner for an array of exhibitions and has sat on various juries. Today, two of his integrated works are exposed permanently in Montreal, at l’Église du Gésu, and in Rome, at the Gregorian University’s Chapel.
During winter and spring 2010, a series of twelve large format paper artworks, will be painted following four trips to Haiti after the earthquake … “In me … Haiti. “
A year dedicated to work and research in London, Florence and Montreal, lead Daniel Leblond to the production of a new series “LETTING YOU WATCH YOURSELF, eyes and faces” that will be exhibited in 2013 in Montreal, Rouen and Malta.
Always thinking and creating, Daniel LeBlond continues with the ” Breath I and II ” series in 2013-2014 that he presented among others in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region. Next comes ” Whispers from beyond the appearances … ” which was exhibited in 2015 in the Church of the Annunciation in Oka, Quebec.
The ” EARTHQUAKE ” series is a logical and inevitable consequence of his many trips to Haiti after the earthquake. An impressive collection of works was carried out. As he puts it, there was a before and after Haiti… The colours have changed; the looks of the characters are different. Taken from this series, he published a book that appeals to everyone … ” Je vais mourir … être et se dire” is abundantly illustrated with paintings, drawings and touching, heartbreaking texts. This artist’s book was launched in Montreal, Quebec Desbiens in winter 2016.
For Daniel LeBlond, artist and author, the year 2016 is busy. He went to Troyes in France to exhibit again. His works have been presented in the Cathedral and Hospice of Troyes. He also went to Le Havre and in two towns in Burgundy to present works and conferences. In September, he will exhibit again at Le Havre.