François Bard - Paulette 2011 - oil on canvas - 195 x 150 cm.

Until the 11th of June 2011 – Mazel Galerie

The close centrings on the subject, the legs, the torsoes or faces put his work within an avant-gardist conception of painting, which has integrated the contribution of photography into contemporary art.

François Bard’s aesthetics is different from a large part of current painting which is influenced by the legacy of American Pop-Art or the new wave of Street Art, as his works are much closer to Edward Hopper, Giorgio de Chirico and Edouard Manet than to Andy Warhol.

His characters or his landscapes seem to be isolated within a space the boundaries of which are indefinite and allow us to escape « somewhere else ».
These large surface areas may evoke the desolate setting that is described in Dino Buzzati’s novel Tartars’Desert, one of his reference books.
The background which reveals endless surface areas focuses our attention on the subject, the small pieces of sentences and enigmatic words sprinkled on the surface of the canvasses.
The atmosphere which emanates from all these elements arouses the feeling that time is suspended and it conveys an unspeakable feeling of void.

The timelessness of his works is emphasized by choices in compositions which remind us of those made by masters of painting.
« Fait divers » or « No Man’s Land » are symptomatic of his taste for compositions drawn from famous names of the history of fine arts.
« L’Homme Mort » (« The Dead man ») which Edouard Manet painted between 1864 and 1865, depicting the body of a matador lying on the sand of the arena which itself refers to medieval sculpture and to the traditional countenance of recumbent statues, is a perfect illustration of this kinship.
Thanks to this centring, Manet gave his matador a Christ-like dimension, while François Bard gives his henchmen wearing gloves the appearance of peace-making angels, kinds of imaginary body-guards of a paranoid society which is afraid of the individuals who are part of it.
The artist fully assumes this biased view and claims that he is « on a sacred side of painting ».

However, far be it from him to establish a distance with those who watch his works, as his sources of inspiration and his models come from his daily life and  from people around him.
He asserts : « it is from daily life that I try to paint my imaginary world.»

But through his longing for timelessness and sublimation, the artist does talk about us in his paintings.
The link between his daily life and our world is to be seen in the realism and naturalism of his pictorial technique, strengthening the kinship between his work and Manet’s. Edouard Mazel

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