Friday, July 9, 2010
An art exhibition that has more than 350 pastels on display is my idea of heaven. The sheer beauty of the current show at Feytiat, on the eastern outskirts of Limoges, is breathtaking. The quality of the work, the variety of approach, the international dimension, all add to the humbling experience. There is a goodly contingent from Texas this year, as well as artists from the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, the UK- and from the host country, France.
Apart from the paintings themselves, the French Pastel Society has mounted a dozen or so exhibits from a number of the invited artists that demonstrate their approach to composing and finishing a painting. These alone make the trip worthwhile for the amateur who is keen to learn. It is impossible to do justice to all artists represented without listing and commenting on all. I will confine myself to remarking that the guest of honour, Na Luther, is undoubted worthy of this recognition. His spare, restrained pastels, often in series, representing the ulilitarian objects of everyday life - dishes, unbound books, pottery - reveal an oriental point of view that can only be innate; the Zen of pastels seems too trite a phrase, but certainly his treatment of pottery recalled immediately for me the equally restrained beauty of the pottery of Bernard Leach. Na Luther - from Laos to the Lot valley.
I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate Jean-Claude Baumier on his very recent recognition as Maitre Pastelliste by the French Pastel Society. Baumier's ethereal landscapes are woven from pastel and poetry, colour and imagination, misty mornings on the Sologne, and are very beautiful indeed.
Monday, July 5, 2010
I know that I said I was taking a break for the summer, and in fact I won't be reviewing any websites for the moment. However, if you happen to be in France between now and September, you should try to visit St. Gelais, near Niort, Deux Sevres, from now until July 14 (Bonjour M. Breton - j'aime bien vos hortensias bleus!); Feytiat, near Limoges, until September 5th; and Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, near Nantes, until September 12th; to see a masterly display of some of the best French and international pastels. And there are other exhibitions.
If you can find a copy of the out-of-series Pastel issue of the French magazine Pratique des Arts, you will find a comprehensive list of summer shows, including a slew of exhibitions in Brittany. The magazine also contains features on Jean-Francois le Saint, Michael Norman, Nathalie Picoulet, Claude Texier, Penelope Milner, Philippe Janin, Cynthia Blair, Claude Bauret-Allard, Marie-Elise Larene, Serguei Oussik.....even if you don't speak French, the illustrations speak for themselves.
By the way, Marie-Pierre Le Sellin has an exhibition of acrylics and pastels in Magné, in the Marais Poitevin, from August 5th to 18th at the Four Pontet, from 10.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. each day.