A head full of flowers…
The following is a surprising series of masked characters that are more melancholic than grotesque. Some have flowers as hair, hats or thoughts. A bouquet rather than a brain, despite seeming to be overcome with sadness. Others have been distorted, making them appear to us as more fragile, vulnerable and complex.
In art, the painted portrait has a diverse and complex history. From formal portraiture to the fragmented portraiture of the beginning of the new millennium, to modernist intimate portraiture, painters have continuously sought out new ways of depicting the human figure. This time, via an investigation of the subject through close-up images, Scheffer offers an exploration of character metamorphosis.
The artist employs a Fauvist palette, as in her preceding work. But this time, the savagery of gestures carries clever and refined sensual nuances. In this series, big chalky white spaces cover true skin tones, like the makeup of Comédie humaine characters. What is difficult to conceal, however, is the place occupied by the masked heads in the pictorial space. Heads that are invasive, provocative, inescapable, unforgettable…
The painter demonstrates great ability in the mastery of colourful erasures, covering stain marks and beautiful material effects. The artist has the great sensitivity to punctuate the flooding of blues with yellows, reds, crimsons and purples. The sometimes hot, sometimes cold bright palette creates an ever-sensual tension that leaves us wanting to revist these disconcerting heads – ravaged pieces of humanity.
When one’s gaze is veiled in blue, melancholy calls the shots. Cerulean blue, like patches of the sky. A waxy mask evoking death. Head of a recumbent figure. The human is seen through a mask more than once, and reappears in the void of a sensitive gaze.
Characters are most often alone. Sometimes there’s a dialogue between two masked characters, like that of heavy-hearted harlequins. The solitary metamorphoses into a duo and silent crowd, which intersect and evade in the beautiful formal play of colourful transparency. The painting is a site of emotions in a return trip commute between the human being, appearances and the role of the painter, who conveys it visually.
Maryse Chevrette, Art Historian
Translation: Lisa Waite