Go ahead, try to picture artist Alex Colard at his studio: moving in with speed, loosely, quickly, meeting the canvas, brushes swirling, thought soaring, zapping, painting with tempo. Since his earliest work, he has incessantly built a catalog of paintings, acrylics, and canvases, committed to the strengthening of the very medium that is painting.
For over two decades, painter Alex Colard has conjured often large-scale, imaginative scenes with exuberant immediacy, depicting calligraphy, architecture, and concepts of pure invention. During this global health crisis, Colard was introduced to group meditation and sharing meetings. He went to gather with strangers who became his friends, almost every evening for one year. They sat down in a circle, closed their eyes for twenty minutes, and just decided to be present. After that, they opened up about their lives, expressed their emotions with words, listened, and connected to each other. His art reflects the attitude adjustments he has made. His point of view became more nuanced, he decided to use airbrush to create smooth transitions and sophisticated layers. Before 2020, Colard almost never used grey hues and light colors. Now that his personality has been refined, he is sharing his new way of living, focused on serenity.
He expresses his need to connect to natural elements through his use of airbrush, creating backgrounds that resemble stone, and more specifically marble. That is the foundation of his new solid character. He uses wood as a tool to apply the strikes of paint. With this material he feels he is painting with time, because he hand carves holes in his instrument, replicating the age-defining rings in a tronc. He signifies his presence in this world with monochromatic invented calligraphy, which means he is one with his family, friends, and colleagues. The movement, positioning, and fluidity of his application imply that his body created the gesture and anchors him to his work.
In Colard’s symbolism, conceptual paintings, the artist plays with the idea that we are every moment counts, that we need to appreciate the present and focus on what is in front of us. We are very much engraved in reality, facing challenges and finding solutions with the quick, thick-matte washes acting as representations of this idea. This means that Colard can never truly plan a painting, instead, the artist starts with the simple wish to create a clear concept of something that strikes him. Each painting is wrapped in a mesmerizing combination of grey and earth colors, with sophisticated hues dancing and morphing with ephemeral black and white flashes. Each color by itself though does not mean much with each one only acting as screens for projection. But once set against and mixed with similar colors, they start acting out their abilities and potentials in relation to the space they create.
Colard’s paintings draw upon everyday affairs as often and as fluidly as they borrow from the imagery of classical spirituality and calligraphy to create expansive imaginary places. He animates these complex narratives with a swirling, energetic hand and a dreamlike palette that moves the audience into seeing how abstract images can come together from the things we have seen, read, and experienced.
Colard (b .1985, France, lives and works in Sweden) received his art degrees from Parsons The New School, New York, USA, and from Ecole Bellecour, Lyon, France. Selected exhibitions include: The Origin Of Knowledge, Galleri Frihamnstorget, Stockholm (2021); Renaissance, Saxess Hairsalon, Stockholm (2021); Présence, Ruby Restaurant, Stockholm (2021); Samlingsutställning, Gallery Rääf, Stockholm (2020); Abstrakt, Betong Gallery, Stockholm (2020); Färgglada Abstrakta Personligheter, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2020); Couleur, Joie et Amour, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2020); First Attempt at a Monotheistic Religion, Lugo Gallery, Stockholm (2019); Psycho: Reflexions of a knife, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2019); Hewlett Packard Collaboration, Print on Demand, The Lobby, Stockholm (2018); Crown Jewels for Everyone, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2018); Cardinal Gemstone Horses, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2018); Polar Animals: Charity Exhibition for WWF, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2018); Blidösund-Swedish Steamboats Giclées, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2018); Storskär-The Saturation of your Aura, Gallery Engleson, Stockholm (2017); Goldsmith, New York, United States (2016).
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