WHAT IS ART, WHAT IS LIFE ...
Patrick Guicheteau came early to painting. He was an auto-didact, and this allowed him to realize his unusual dreams, (see flying people) in the most concrete fashion, before turning to other more realistic moments (Nocturnes interlopes). Without ever forsaking hyper-realistic qualities as far as form is concerned, on the matter of content, the gamut of colors rapidly expressed the artist’s determination not only to paint something, but to express the very pleasure of painting itself. An almost laborious precision in the approach to a subject is counterbalanced by the emancipation of the painterly act itself. In turns this leads to the freedom of forms, and colors and materials in today’s work.
Certainly, the Figure we are given to look at now is essentially a reclining Venus, a kind of pagan Goddess in the middle of drapes charged with colored motifs. The artist himself asserts that this is indispensable to his work. But it has to be realized that this has less to do with the sensual side of things than with the metaphorical capacity of this “figure”. It is the source of all life, and is, by deduction, the principal form apt to give birth to all aesthetics. As a result, the central figures are, of course, women but can also be flowers, apples, even roosters. In fact, when Guicheteau does paint the portrait of a woman “just like that”, her face is only partially realistic, the rest being layered with colored bands and surfaces: obviously, because for Guicheteau all this is only painting…
If the artist doesn’t want to establish a specific identity for this central representative personage, it is because he sees it essentially as a chimera… (It resonates for him, it leads him to reason like this) a being forged by the painterly act, a painting which rises up from the background of the canvas and moves toward the surface where all intermediary techniques are possible. First the artist uses a knife to coat the canvas with several layers of material: these might include, sand, gelatin, or gold leaf (establishing a direct link with his sculptures which deal with the same themes, sculptures that are painted in front, and gold leafed on the back) all of this sustaining a perspective in depth, but also providing a supplementary dynamic to the colors which then superimpose themselves. The purely pictorial method is brought into being with acrylic, a way of giving shape to the forms, then finished with oil. All of this is finally repeated with more ample gestures whose circular trace encounters harder lines at several points of interaction, and then interacts with spiral forms and colors which move more and more toward abstraction. However accomplished, it is always a way of disturbing the eye of the beholder (as Duchamp put it)in order to surprise it, just as in music a melody is disrupted by a sudden loud surge or, its opposite, moments of silence. articulation of new forms and colors,
Patrick Guicheteau’s work is a perfect example of the possible synthesis between painting and music. It is enough to notice the pictorial trembling in each of his canvases, a movement that has an obvious rapport with music, the rhythm of forms, scores of colors, repetitions of certain motifs, and interferences, with a strong and dominated “tone. Finally this becomes an almost musical back and forth between the nascent complex “compositions” and the wanderings of the background where it all melds into the entity of a single composition. Hoffman the librettist and musician wrote about such unisons: “When I hear music, I discover an analogy and the intimate union between colors, sounds and perfumes.” In fact, many of Guicheteau’s titles also leads us to this association: “some notes from a forgotten tune”: “on mauve and blue wavelengths”: “some uncertain rhymes for unknown songs.” Etc.
In conclusion, one can say this about the female figure, so omnipresent in the last period of the artist’s work, that she opens like a flower in the omnipresence of all the other flowers that wash over the drapes enveloping these women. She becomes not only an evocation of the woman, but also an allegorical representation of the passage from unity to infinity, and in our
supposition of the dynamics in a certain synthesis, from note to symphony. It is like a musical echo (music of the spheres, dear to Kepler, the astrophysicist), of the finite being face to face with the infinity of the universe
Beyond this appropriation of the body (animal or human, but always with the painting confronting the body) this work argues that the reality of beings and personalities is no more than their appearance (read: the bar codes of a face) and that the woman (because it is essentially about her) is the single certain metaphor of Creation and so of life. She becomes, as the artist says, a Creation situated at “the intersection between what is real and what is indiscernible.”
By Francis Parent – Art critic (AICA). (October 2008)
English translation, Roger Salloch