Feet on the Ground
“The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself.” Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
At once an outpouring of emotions and astronomic swirls, Marleen Provençal’s universe is anything but static. Flirting with abstraction for the past ten years, her painting is eminently energetic and suggestive, ignoring silence and constraints. Often turned upside down during the creation process, each painting is born of an unfurling of daring colours and impulsive gestures, the traces of which remain visible on the surface.
At the heart of visions that appear chaotic, the most unidealized and non-bucolic landscapes emerge. Landscapes full of tension, with burning ochre- and red-saturated horizons. Sparks of whitish light in some gloomy areas and some bursts of blue sky persist in the greyness. Water, air, earth and fire – living elements of solid and ethereal nature – give the impression of engaging oneself in a unique chromatic, formal and spatial battle.
Volcanic verve; whirlwinds of gas, ashes and dust; intense clouds; fumaroles and crashing of waves… The artist puts the viewer in the position of observer of telluric, atmospheric and climatic phenomena with devastating – even cataclysmic – potential.
Drawn from the depths of the earth and oceans, and transformed by violent ascending winds, flames devour forests and plains, storms erode unknown shores, flood waters engulf lost pieces of paradise…
A destruction-regeneration cycle begins.
Charged with the mysterious and antagonistic forces that have governed planetary dynamics since the dawn of time, the work is perhaps representative of the genesis of primitive earth, or of the way earth will repeatedly present itself over the lengthy course of cosmic time. Given such a dizzying scale, the reign of human beings may only have been an insignificant digression.
Executed with a sense of urgency, the purely imagined landscapes – imprints of Romanticism and gripping modelling effects – evoke real tangible preoccupations. In this period of uncertainty and tergiversation regarding environmental issues, they attest to the impermanence, vulnerability and fragile equilibrium of the world in transformation in which we live. A world in which we will undoubtedly leave a profound mark.
Marleen Provençal shows us a glimpse of the terrifying beauty.
Author : Nicole Allard
Text translation: Lisa Waite