Artists statement: The Generosity of Skies
I love the clouds… the clouds that pass by… out there… the wonderful clouds!
For the artist Franck Bailleul, the sky is not static: “The perpetually moving skies are incessantly altering their shape…” Yet his purpose is to capture it, to grasp its essence in order to preserve it on canvas as it was observed at a specific point in time.
The artist suspends this soluble moment in an image that both echoes and transcends the multiplicity of pictorial as well as literary representations of the sky. The painter-poet’s ostensible realism draws us into a new reality that is set in motion by a dialectic between light and shadow, fluidity and stasis, transparency and opacity; a world that is at the same time tangible and ethereal, transfigured by his brush and by liquid color.
Transported by the dreamlike character of the image presented to his gaze, the observer can steer his own course across the canvas, driven by his sensibility, desire, life history, experience and cultural bearings. On each canvas, the sky swathes itself for his benefit in labyrinths of cloud that invite him to pursue an infinite set of fresh narratives.
Franck Bailleul’s other skill is to make each of his works into a mirror of sorts, in which any observer will find something that is true both of himself and of mankind, in a relationship where conflict and communion are conflated and in which individuality and community are fused.
“The sky is ours, to remind us of the essential, as a pure, permanent gift, that speaks to all indiscriminately” .
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Painter of skies
Born in Abbeville (the Somme)
”Painting grabs you by the gut, it has to find expression, it’s vital and orgasmic…”
Franck Bailleul remembers the smells of turpentine and the cellar where his father used to paint – a dark, damp room from which such fumes, mixed with fresh oil-blended pigments, would rise and fill his head, like a spiritual drug that would never leave him!
From childhood, he developed a powerful connection with Flemish and Dutch painting of the 16th and 17th centuries, which he learned to reproduce by tirelessly copying his masters: Ruysdael, Hobbema, Van Goyen, Pijnacker, Vermeer…
His higher education at a prestigious business school was coloured by his deep need to continue painting, which he satisfied by painting small-scale watercolours that he would sell to passers-by in Montmartre. It was at this time that during one of his many visits to the Louvres museum, the artist was rendered speechless by Camille Corot’s Souvenir de Mortefontaine; it was a revelation: he would be a painter! From thereon, he was driven to paint on any type of surface he could lay his hands on: kitchen doors, plywood, pieces of cardboard…
His thirst for discovery then led him to travel of the world to observe all manner of painters, in Australia, the United States, Europe and Asia, drawing inspiration from all influences.
Back in France, he proclaimed himself “Painter of skies” and settled in a hunting lodge in Normandy where he produces impressive canvasses.
His world can be explored in his studio or through memorable exhibitions, the next of which will take place in the Nave of the Grand Palais from the 24th to the 30th of November 2015.