22 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Saturday 12 September - Saturday 14 November 2020

Galerie Jean Fournier is very pleased to show Garden Party, the first solo exhibition by Armelle de Sainte Marie at the gallery. Since 2009, Armelle de Sainte Marie  (born in 1968) has used several pictorial approaches simultaneously. The selection for the exhibition consists of two of these series: Odyssées and Vanités hybrides, accompanied by recent works, Jardin and Garden Party. But the same vital force drives all the work. Armelle de Sainte Marie likes to quote Bram Van Velde’s answer to the question of why his painting was so fluid. He replied  ‘Because life is fluid’1.


These series express the different, complementary temporalities in the studio work, with longer peregrination for the Odyssées and greater condensation for the Hybrides. Space in the Odyssées is completely saturated, ‘gouged out’ by the colours and the formal circumvolutions, while the Hybrides have flat-painted backgrounds and are more frontal. And in each canvas the viewer delights in following the circumvolutions, dribbles and patches that bring grotesque Renaissance paintings to mind or the folds and crumpling of cloth and woodland painted by Fragonard.


This sophistication in colour and gesture is not superficial in any way. Armelle de Sainte Marie does not bother with the repulsion felt for certain substances and sickly sweet colours. The coexistence of many renderings of materials brings out opposing feelings. We feel—simultaneously—stone, flesh, water, feathers, scales and down. The almost monstrous and the disturbing strangeness. This Freudian echo is also that of childhood: ‘I express, in a more or less conscious way, visual memories—physical sensations in space, what I felt, which are part of me—linked to a personal set of images2. Armelle de Sainte Marie does not depict a precise landscape but reports feelings from when she was a child, fear and desire and sometimes the mingling of attraction and resistance: ‘and finally, these bunches, these nests, these slightly sticky things that happen make me think of this organic and invasive aspect and the fact that we cannot avoid nature that threads its way onwards or changes. This expansion can thus live in painting and dominate with matter/paint in a vision: be in the landscape because I am part of it‘ 3.


There is a form of gourmet delight, coloured and textured richness, in which lines and forms are intertwined and interlaced like a number of pictorial moments. The extravagant and pastel tones are close to those of Tiepolo or Watteau. The work by more recent painters such as Ewa Juszkiewicz (born in Poland in 1984) comes to mind and even more that of Glenn Brown (an English artist born in 1966), with whom she shares the fluidity and spectrum of forms. As is pointed out by Eric Suchère in a forthcoming monograph: ‘Here there is a richness of pictorial marks that show the presence of the hand, that even go beyond it. Before being a memory of images Armelle de Sainte Marie’s painting is a memory of gestures, of all the pictorial gestures that emerge and gather in dynamics and extreme heterogeneity ‘ 4.



1            Armelle de Sainte Marie, Entretien published in Cahier n°65 of l’Artothèque Antonin Artaud. 2017, pages not numbered.

2                 Armelle de Sainte Marie, op. cit.

3                 Armelle de Sainte Marie, op. cit.

4                 Eric Suchère, Odyssées hybrides, a text from the monograph to be published by Éditions Arnaud Bizalion


Photo : Armelle de Sainte Marie, Hybride 18, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 81 x 65 cm © F.Ney / Sainte Marie, Galerie Jean Fournier, 2020, Paris

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