Exhibition

Franck Chalendard

Petites peintures d'hiver

December 21, 2017 - February 24, 2018

Saint-Etienne



ARTIST :
Franck Chalendard


 The paintings in "Petites peintures dHiver" by Franck Chalendard sound an optimistic note for an artist's agency and the value of individual experience in daily life. The sense of winter and the pleasing diminutive "petite" are open clues to the artists feelings on this new series of paintings. In these works the drama of fecund summer is in retreat and winter finds the artist in a contemplative spot, a warm alcove away from the howling wind. Chalendard has created an affectionate painterly language to record his thoughts and feelings like short tunes played on a guitar. Each painting is done relatively quickly; each painting is a complete thought.

On first pass the paintings may seem unassuming. There is muted color and drawing that, while present, is not assertive. The paint is often thinned out, becoming nearly transparent and the artist often allows the paint to drip or flow across the surfaces of the canvas. In other places the painter indulges himself with quick rips from a spray can. The paintings find balance between the "concrete" painting of artists like Robert Ryman or Pat Steir and a lyrical receding space that floats and hovers, full of illusion and inner light. The paintings expose a type of conflict or at least contrast between two competing strains of abstract painting.

Leafing through a recent catalogue of Chalenard's paintings I was struck by the quotes of American Trenscendalitist Henry David Thoreau used to preface Bernard Ceyssons illuminating essay on Chalendard. Transcendental philosiphers, including Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, provide an interesting lens to look at Chalendard's paintings through. The transcendentalist's focus on subjective personal experience and spiritually generated from a person's lived experience seems to suit Chalendards painting. In Chalendards case, as in Thoreau's, living outside a urban center immersed in the cycles of nature as an outdoorsman seem to fuel the philosophical underpinnings of the paintings. We can see the hours of quiet introspection made apparent in his practice.

Yet, despite the contemplation, there is quickness to these paintings. The rigorous formal concerns are leavened by intimacy and precision. The balance Chalendard finds between spontaneity and consideration is evident in the slow stippling that evoke textile patterns, brushy erasure that open up the internal formal structures and the impromptu flourishes with a loaded paintbrush that serves to reassert the surfaces of the works. The process the artist follows is setting boundaries for himself, in the form of lines or loose geometries that seem to correspond to the shape of the canvas, which he then follows by abandoning of the parameters he has set for himself. As a fellow painter (or in an another phrase a "fellow traveller") the paintings in "Petite peintures dHiver" offer me the glad acceptance of chance and the opportunity to add a few notes of our own to the score. These paintings give me the hope and encouragement to go into my own studio, which is the highest compliment a painter can offer another.

Wallace Whitney, November 2017.