Article excerpt

In the nine untitled works presented here, all from 2010 and 2011, Stephane Bordarier pursues the exploration of painting--more specifically, of color--that he began in the early 1980s and has since steadily deepened. As in the past, he works on his canvases flat, spreading out the paint with the aid of spatulas or scrapers over a base of wet rabbit-skin glue, the drying time of which determines the duration of the piece's execution--a few hours at most. During this process, the color not only attaches itself to the support but also acquires, as it mixes with the glue, a material quality that is very particular, at once opaque and transparent: A kind of matte skin forms that, as it absorbs light, renders perceptible the infinite nuances and variations enlivening its surface. Accordingly, Bordarier does not develop his colors in advance, but rather on the canvas itself, as one can see by examining the edges of his paintings. Drips--here blue and yellow, there red and blue--bleed together to create greens and purples; they aren't uniform and, above alb they visibly retain the opposite qualities of the primary colors, cold or warm, from which they stem. It is as if Bordarier were returning to a certain childhood memory of painting--the enchanting discovery of the possible metamorphoses of color--while engaging in a dialogue with the already long history of the use of pure color and in particular with Color Field painting and the monochrome.

The formats of these large paintings (mostly horizontal diptychs made of two square canvases! as well as the height at which they were installed here enabled the viewer's immersion into the color sensation--or rather the color sensations, plural, since variations in light throughout the day tended to modify perception of them and since the surfaces, as one plunges into them, prove to be far from homogeneous. …


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