Saturday, July 31

Xavier Veilhan: Using an Inorganic Language

The work of French Artist, Xavier Veilhan, is growing on me. I was first introduced to his work via Art Observed, when he had the Chateau de Versailles Courtyard and Garden exhibit.
There is an interesting photo spread of the major piece, Le Carrosse on his website. This is a piece that has a strange power in that courtyard - articulating very quickly what it is you need to know. Somehow it's slightly digital language is both contemporary yet fits exactly into a memory of Versailles. It's communicating everything you need to know and using a language that we're all becoming strangely familiar with.

His work is more expansive than at first glance. I have the initial reaction of thinking I've seen his language before. But that's exactly it: he's using a borrowed language - an inorganic one, from computers, polygons and pixels. Reminds me most like the early Virtua Fighter games, which represented the way we see forms using a limited technology. Breaking down curves of calves and torsos into a few different flat planes.

I suppose his work could reflect alot about technology and avatars - digital selves and identity. But that broken up form itself is nothing new. Think Cezanne or Euan Eglow. Cezanne had once set out to paint a single tree over and over, each time focusing on a sole element. Painters, sculptors and artists have always simplified forms in order to represent them. Or also Ann Gale, breaking form into, quite literally, pixels.

I find myself using alot of masking tape in my paintings lately. And I do it to get a manufactured line or shape. I'll paint in a flat, totally mechanical shape over an otherwise brushy, scraped and ragged texture. Maybe again working form into a flat shape. This is may be part of my painting language now - but in a similar way to Veilhan's work, it is mimicking an inorganic language - something picked up on from what the camera saw.

It's developing a language. As I might use photographs and memory as reference - artists before may have other varied references: sketches, live models. This changes the way we see and choose to articulate that. But ultimately artists are articulating something by abstracting it.

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