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Guillaume Paturel
brooklyn, NY

ARTIST STATEMENT: My relationship with painting is above all physical. I’m the kind of painter who matches colors, but who also scrapes, cuts, glues, rips. The canvases are made of wood and I proceed directly on the raw material. I mix, assemble, play with layers using noble and recycled material, paint and industrial products. My work belongs to an abstract dimension, but my canvases, however, are above all imposing, heavy, present. Concrete. Almost like sculptures. It has been fifteen years that I dedicate my work to architectural images. From private residences to urban projects, whether in France or in the US, I cover many different scales. I originally started drawing on tracing paper, superimposing layers, then my images were scanned, to finally be digitalized for the past ten years or so. Painting is an opportunity for me to retrace my steps and to get back in touch with the raw material. My pieces are cities, territories, urban landscapes either deserted or under construction. Being French, living in New York, my city of choice is what feeds my inspiration: geometry and chaos, order and disorder, verticality and stratification. Still, I do not wish to recreate any city in particular. The cities represented in my paintings are imaginary. Fantastical cities nested in the womb or deeply buried memories brought back to life through the superficial layers: as I create, I become simultaneously and urbanist and archaeologist. I think of strategies on how to occupy a territory. I begin by creating an urban web, a highway network, strictly specific, methodical, geometrical, to which I add a layer of living matter, more confusing, gradually dissolving traces of order. As one tries to regenerate the urban tissue after a Natural catastrophe, my commitment is to bring the original structure back to life. I am still very shaken by the nightmarish images of post-tsunami Japan. They still haunt me and have definitely influenced my paintings on a deep level. Of the cities, only rumbles remained. They became abstract. Amidst the chaos, one must find the strength to re-invent, to visualize neighborhoods and housings, to re-build density and lifestyles. Chaos is destruction, but chaos is life, movement, freedom. When I paint, I attempt to create movement, to avoid the austerity of a frozen frame, a lifeless map. I must recreate the motions, the migrations and the tensions. I would like them to never end: to keep on adding more layers, coats, crusts. The vision of cities endlessly mutating. I try to give them the gift of Life.

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