Dolby Chadwick Gallery is delighted to announce Seuils, an exhibition of new work by the French artist Edwige Fouvry. Fouvry’s exhilarating, effulgent paintings are dense fields of line, color, brushwork, and painterly drips framed by the calm of blank canvas. Her landscapes continue to evoke complex psychological terrains rather than the mere physical contours of a location, serving as exposés of our inner worlds as well as puzzles for our imaginations to piece together.
This body of work, Fouvry explains, is inflected by a significant personal loss that precipitated her return home to Beaujolais, France, where she grew up. While there, she became deeply immersed not only in the beauty of the landscape, with its rolling hills, verdant vineyards, and winding rivers, but also in memories from long ago. She notes how the confluence of these events and experiences left her feeling fragile and more vulnerable, especially in the face of nature, which felt stronger and more robust than ever before.
In addition to Beaujolais, the paintings feature the region of Brittany, a longtime reference for Fouvry, who travels to the peninsular region nearly every year. Brittany is a source of both comfort and rich inspiration for the artist, the vast expanse of sea and the tempests rendering her small yet untethered and free. In an effort to express the intensity of being in touch with nature, these works present broad stretches of land and sea as well as passages of fresh air flooded with gauzy clouds. In Le Lac dans le Vallon, for example, we feel as if we are being pulled into the painting by the magnetic energy of the artic blue aureole at center, ostensibly a lake, as sweeping lines of purple and orange, perhaps representing rolling hills, and a brilliant profusion of gestural marks in the foreground direct us inward. The balance offered by the diaphanous sky and the blank canvas below, however, precludes any sense of claustrophobia and fulfills the deeper tenet of the show’s title, Seuils, meaning thresholds.
Water, in particular, is of great importance to Fouvry, who imagines our inner worlds to be like the sea, “sometimes calm and welcoming, sometimes violent and tumultuous.” This is especially evident in the painting Lame, which is named after a type of wave that is particularly violent and dangerous. In this work, frothy blue waves rise and soar, swelling in crescendo-like fashion, while the hint of a low sun or moon in the Turner-esque sky completes the dazzle of the sublime. But this painting, like the others, is not so easy to interpret; here, hints of grass and land in the foreground create ambiguity that entreats the viewer’s imagination to work harder, longer. The title Lame can also be read as L’ame, meaning soul, a double entendre that underscores Fouvry’s fascination with inner and outer, psychology and scene.
Seuils also features Fouvry’s portraits of people, bringing her interest in psychology full circle. These faces appear quiet and contemplative at first glance, but the roiling lines and relationships between colors hint at something deeper at work. Like her favorite authors, such as the early twentieth-century Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, a recent find, Fouvry delves into the interior lives of her subjects, mining their thoughts and emotions. To this endeavor she brings her study of water, creating fluid descriptions of each person’s features and posture to express a depth of feeling marked, inescapably, by ambiguity and caprice—the understanding that who we are, what we feel, and how we act are forever shifting and evolving.
Edwige Fouvry was born in Nantes, France, in 1970, and lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She received her master’s degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre, Brussels. Fouvry has exhibited widely across Europe and North America and participated in the 2011 group exhibition HEADS, curated by Peter Selz, at Dolby Chadwick Gallery. Her work has been reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Ltd., and Artension. This will be her sixth solo exhibition at the gallery.