There’s a rhythmic foundation to Fabienne Verdier’s paintings. Upon entering the gallery, the large canvases call for another understanding, more than just the one of an artist spreading meaningful content through her talent. Verdier’s artworks in the Walking Paintings and Rhythms and Reflections series significantly imply music and vibrations.
The ensemble of brushstrokes running along the canvases of the gallery translate the charged history which belongs to Verdier, combining calligraphies which she learned during her journey in the East, and her Western methodology. Some of the paintings are busier than others, depending on how generous they are with black paint, reminiscent of the ink used to write in calligraphy. The third one for example, resonates deeply inside the body. Through the tumult of emotions transcending the canvas, we can hear the music.
Some of the paintings were created after the artist’s first visual artist-in-residence experience at The Juilliard School in New York, in 2014. In a video entitled “The Juilliard Experiment” she explains how the process originated, working with the vibrations that emanate from an acoustic line; could music and paint be played simultaneously? Using bespoke brushes, and standing next to the organs of the instruments, her feelings dictate her movements on the canvas.
The forms are waves that come and go, agitated and impetuous.. Is it the artist’s spleen that is encountered? Twirling upside down and inside out, the paintings create introspection when it’s not really expected. The tempo and the brushstrokes are the reasons for our implication of the works. The hollow spaces alternating with the full forms created from the calm legato, the powerful sforzando, and the ingenious staccato, play with the core, leaving us dazed by the whirlwind.
The thought of the music directly influences the perception of the art. The correlation between the breathing and the touches of the brush moving with music is instantly perceivable. The tone is generally grave and opaque, as we are plunged deep into the sounds and melodies. Along with the brushstrokes there are noticeable drips that take part of the landscape. It marks the surface with imperfections, the ones that are reminiscent of our flaws and our failures. It’s the superficial layer of the emotion,the one that is usually never controlled.The one that makes humankind feel vulnerable and fragile. The one which reveals inner secrets.
The contemplation of the paintings as a whole uncovers Verdier’s experimentation, as a score she composed herself and shared to the world. With intuitive tools such as paint and music blended with unrestrained breathings and gestures, the artist captivates her emotions and reverses it back, causing the viewer disarray with the choice they have to make: exit the space in favour of comfort, or participate in the exchange of energy and leave the space changed?
Fabienne Verdier at Waddington Custot (25 November 2016 – 11 February 2017)