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Eugène Leroy's Nudes at Michael Werner

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Author Topic: Eugène Leroy's Nudes at Michael Werner  (Read 356 times)
Danielle Gorree
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« on: December 19, 2012, 06:29:28 pm »

Light was a very important quest for the artist, and in 1974, he saw an icon at the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow which made him realize that in icons--light enlightens the subject, and light emerges from behind the subject as well. This is the effect he sought to achieve all his life: to create the effect of light illuminating the subject from behind and from the front. He really wanted to make a painting that had its own light - we have to keep in mind of course, that light is both an effect and a state of color. Light is what makes his paintings pulsate at their very heart, it also organizes the painting from within. The painter was obsessed with light: the light of the paint and the light of the other.

Color in his paintings is subordinate to the light and to the expression of form and space. He organized each color in relation to the other colors. It could take him thirty minutes to add a new color and it could take him over a year to finish one painting. In some cases, it took 10 to 20 years, like Portrait nu féminin, 1970-1999 presented in the gallery.

In the older paintings like Nu Vert, vibrant colors are underneath and there is a certain quietness in this painting, which is not the case in his more recent works.

In his later works, bright tones emerge like in Marina nue, colors are airy and floating and the tube of paint is squeezed onto the canvas. He used the tube of paint as an affirmative gesture, as a drawing tool. As it can be seen in the exhibition, the freedom of the strokes are impressive. When using a knife and a brush, the brush always carries the tones that were previously applied.

The color, the material, and the drawing are closely interlinked. Paint in Leroy's works is an evolving substance, a metaphor for flesh. The material is like a thick skin, vibrant, breathing and there's even an olfactory dimension, the smell of his constantly drying paintings.

Initially, the figure is buried and then it is gradually revealed in the space created by the material. The **** always occupies the center of the picture where they are typically standing, which is usual for sculpture, but less common in painting. The figure is embedded in the background where they exist on the edge of non-existence.
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