Landscapes Beneath

Christiane Pooley

20 October > 1 December 2018

Bendana | Pinel Art Contemporain is pleased to present ’s second solo exhibition « Landscapes Beneath ».

Whether to enable the viewer to approach and enter into her canvases, or so that she may project herself into them without being fully implicated, Christiane Pooley depicts a great number of landscape views in a manner that is purposefully vague. Many of these are based on her homeland, though at no point does the artist name the country. With a soft color range and gentle progressions of shading that exhibit forthright brushstrokes and delicate planes in equal measure, these horizons leave room for broad narrative interpretation, opening onto an unfettered space for projection. Starting with her own images, whether real or imagined, the artist draws these into a broader story that incorporates the pictorial tradition and the memories of each viewer. Christiane Pooley builds compositions combining differing temporalities; through distantiation, she also addresses scorching contemporary realities in the form of layers and double-surfaces that resonate with all those who are displaced in the world of today.

Christiane Pooley has always immersed herself in painting, while continuing to reflect on the very act she is engaged in: asking what to paint, and why? While landscape painting is one of the traditional pictorial genres, she remains constantly aware that she is “not painting an image, but rather a painting.” No illusionist reasoning here, but rather a quest for formal equilibrium, as Maurice Denis writes, “Bear in mind that a picture—before it is a war horse, a naked woman or some anecdote—is essentially a flat surface covered with color arranged in a particular manner.” Christiane Pooley pores over surfaces and materials, sounding the dichotomy between smooth canvas and the paint that is applied to it. At times she also works on sheets of wood or copper, always maintaining a studied distance between the support and the depiction on top of it, with the two components combining as integral to the image. These materials allow the artist to harmonize soft colors, often favoring greens and pinks, the colors of nature and of flesh… The memory of her gesture is clearly apparent on the canvas, such as the brushstrokes that impose dynamic movement, which she likes to stretch out in large formats. As she excavates painting, she questions its limits while exploring the construction of landscape: “for me, it represents a portrait, when it is not reified.” One might be so bold as to say that landscapes reassure her, like a familiar environment. “I see the picture,” she continues, “like a theater stage; hence my projection, based on images preserved by my retina, brings together my most intimate psychological considerations.”

Marie Maertens
October 2018

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