Après la houle
The paintings of Marie-Claude Lacroix reveal a deep curiosity for the construction and fragmentation of images, with the idea of exploded contours ever-present in her visual works. In a contemporary approach to the still life, the artist engages in research that, although anchored in the pictorial tradition, explores the notion of space and questions the role of the image—and, more specifically, the promise of its resolution.
From this desire for a nuanced, visual representation of the various dimensions of materiality comes a creative process with several steps, in which mediums are built up and overlaid. Paintings are produced via a systematic methodology. First, the artist creates assemblages that are used to build scaled-down models. The choice of objects and their positioning in the micro-installation are guided by aesthetic intuition. This part of the process is somewhat playful, akin to improvisation, and the artist allows herself to be guided by the chosen materials, by their physical characteristics, and by what they evoke when viewed together. These temporary models are built from the most ordinary materials: glass, mirrors, blunt objects, coloured paper, boxes, tape. These elements recall the tools in an artist’s studio, adding a self-referential slant to the work. The next step is to photograph the resulting compositions from many angles and under different lighting conditions, giving rise to a range of versatile possibilities. Following this, a careful process of selection identifies the images that reflect the artist’s intention as closely as possible. Photography is thus an integral medium in this method as it performs the role of a sketch from which to develop the graphical composition. By this stage, the image has become the primary focus, and the model can be destroyed. The artist is profoundly interested in detail, approaching her composition by means of fragmentation and close-up, and the image that results is the only reference for production of the painting. This step is essential and lends a certain vulnerability to the representation: the photo becomes the sole remainder of a precarious reality.
The preparatory steps therefore allow for an organic visual language and gestural freedom during the painting stage. Via a slow process of formal chromatic exploration, layers of paint are built up to form an enigmatic visual space, and the resulting superposition suggests a certain strangeness, evoking disconnected and unstable environments. By adopting a mode of representation that shifts between abstraction and realism, the artist explores the evocative potential of the constructed space. Behind the concrete artistic choices is the desire to broach absence itself, in a context of intimate ambiguity.
Leave a Comment