by Stephanie Wright Hession
Edwige Fouvry | Maison et branchages, 2013 | Oil on canvas | 59 x 78 inches
Edwige Fouvry's highly textured landscapes and portraits of nudes contain cryptic qualities that beckon the viewer to move closer and study each informative detail. Based in both reality and the ethereal, they possess figurative and abstract elements.
With her current solo exhibition, Sous le Ciel, which translates from French as "Under the Sky" and shares the name of a novel written by friend Rene Bizac, Fouvry utilizes these subjects to examine the relationship between people and their interaction with the natural world.
"I found myself wanting to talk about the human inside nature, or nature as seen by the human mind. This body of work is always about emotions and always centered on humans," says Fouvry, 43.
Born in Nantes, in the Brittany region of France, she comes from a family of classical musicians who also hold an interest in fine art. She read books about Matisse and van Gogh in her childhood home and was moved by the loneliness emoted from some of the Dutch painter's portraits. She now lives in Brussels, after moving there 20 years ago to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre.
For her show, she spent a year creating oil pastel drawings on paper and the oil-on-canvas-and-wood paintings. They include Nymphe (2013), a portrait of a nude woman standing against an indiscernible background awash in varying hues of green with hints of pale and deep pink.
"I like to talk about vulnerability," Fouvry says. "The nudes represent people and personalities directly, free from the clothes that were originally made to protect us."
She works from the memory of photographs of family members that she shot during outings in the country and profile photos from dating websites. Her ideas also germinate from her mood, personal life, the people she meets and other artists' paintings.
"I begin with a quick drawing and then let the painting find its own way. I concentrate intensely and try to find and follow this mysterious path that allows me to create something powerful," the artist says of her process. "I try to strike the right balance between intuition, freedom, construction and color harmony. Total freedom helps me get in touch with emotions and memory, but rational thinking helps equilibrate the forces on the canvas. The paintings could be called 'mental images.' "
As to what appeals to her about painting and drawing, Fouvry says, "That the art is mysterious. I need it to express what I have in mind, and I need it to feel comfortable with myself."
If you go
Sous le Ciel: Through March 29. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday.
Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post St., Suite 205, S.F. (415) 956-3560. www.dolbychadwickgallery.com.
Stephanie Wright Hession is an arts, culture and travel writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.