Présents — Peintures
Past: March 31 → May 5, 2012
Mireille Blanc immediately catches one’s eye. Her paintings do not reveal themselves at first glance, but instead must be looked at again and again for answers. And even once the image begins to materialize, alas it disappears, casting doubt upon images thwarted. For many years the subjects of her paintings were the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding objects. The possible influence of Eugene Leroy can be discerned in Blanc’s work.
In an effort to create a further distance between herself and her subjects, Blanc uses photos as models, some of which can be found around her studio. Often times Blanc finds photos in flea markets, family albums, or even snaps them herself when confronted with an intriguing, or even disturbing object. Whichever photograph Blanc chooses, she without a doubt always removes any narrative content when outlining the actual canvas. The end result is born of abstraction, hardly resembling the photo from which it was conceived. However, the presence of photography is sometimes indicated through Blanc’s style, often times blurring the line between reality and art.
Blanc painted the human figure for many years now, however, it is now their absence which is all the more remarkable. Now Blanc represents objects centered in small undetermined spaces, with an indefinite foreground and background. They are reminiscent of older traditions like German folklore (the artist was born in Lorraine), but also resonate with the mundane day to day life and styles. One can decipher the image of the virgin mary, a birthday cake, a ceramic dish, and a coat strewn on a bed. The artist’s work is inspired by Manet, and the still lifes of Chardin, Morandi, and even contemporaries such as Gerard Gasiorowski, Michael Borremans, and Luc Tuymans.
The fairly small sizes of the canvases induce a sense of intimacy with the objects painted on them. However, the narrower the frame, the more they seem to broaden horizons beyond the image field. Thus we begin to see Blanc’s exploration of the complexities of memory and reminiscence. She paints her pictures in a unique way, in which she finishes a painting in one sitting without returning to it, in order to emphasize the immediacy and transience of memory. Her works even seem to contribute to a collective memory, even a universal memory. Blanc often times paints in hues of gray, probably a conscious effort to emphasize the aspect of memory in her work. Her art recalls the work of Lucian Freud, not only in color but also in the thick manner in which he applied paint to his canvases.
She no longer paints the way she used to, instead adopting a more transparent style to fit her subject. Mrs Blanc’s painting are not ironicals or really funny neuilther made with a sense of tenderness. The objects in a way appear in a diffused manner, while withdrawing in a delicate and implacable necessity.