Richard Montpetit was born in Montreal in 1950, the son of the painter Rolland Montpetit. He quickly become involved in the world of art. By the end of the 1970’s he painted primarily landscapes in an impressionistic style but diversified his subjects due to his many painting expeditions to Mexico, France, Italy Portugal, Morocco and the Dominican Republic). He turned to smaller sized sketches where the subtlety of colour and the accuracy of the light became the heart of the matter. In time, streets scenes became his preferred subject. His compositions, despite a contemporary urban reality, always called to him through the light.
Montpetit studies variations though the seasons, in both night and day, and captures the effect of different luminous sources like car lights, street lamps, shops windows and neon signs. All these notations bring the viewer to the precise mood of the moment and makes one feel present. His is a nostalgic wandering in the Montreal streets where he follows people whose enigmatic silhouettes silently pass through the seasons. Richard Montpetit subsequently returned to paint in France, then Cuba, Croatia, Malta and Martinique and most recently to Provence and Paris. In his entire body of work his oeuvre is specifically focused on the effect of light, appearing like a meditation on everyday existence, solitude, presence and the passing of time.
"I am a traveller, no matter where I am, I look with a certain distance to see and feel. My gaze on the present moment is possessed of certain nostalgia, as if I were observing old photos. This is when everything becomes clear and I really see. Of course, I am painting the light, but studying the light is looking at time through days and nights, through seasons and years. So in a way my subject is time; time passing in our life, time that I would like to capture or at least remember when magic was present and express that I was there… I am there."
Since 1979 Richard Montpetit has exhibited in more then thirty (33) solo shows, one of which was a retrospective exhibition which lasted three months at the Marc Aurèle Fortin Museum. Represented by art galleries across Canada, his paintings may be found in many public and private collections.