Oblique Face

6 400 

Technique: Acrylic painting on canvas

Dimension: 55,1 x 55,1 inch

It was the sooty deposit left by a flame that was to give “body” to what Etienne Gros calls his “smoke drawings”.

He uses the flame of a candle or a paraffin lamp to trace unpredictable, delicate, soft lines of immense fragility on sheets of white paper.
No brushes, pencils, or any other of the artist’s usual tools are involved. Etienne draws with whorls of smoke, letting himself be bewitched by the random patterns traced by the smoke. Sometimes the result is pure magic, sometimes not.
He calls on the fire in his studio to free genies from lamps, like Aladdin, while taking us far, far back in time, to the dawn of mankind.

work proposed by Gallery 22
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I had never seen anything like it.
This work by Etienne Gros is unique. I don’t know if he invented the technique, but in any case he found there a magical way to draw with smoke. Magnificent! Suddenly the lines of traditional drawing faded away, there were no longer the boundaries of the lead pencil, charcoal, sanguine, pastel, or pencil surrounding the shapes, but everything became volume, play of light and shadow. Like a genie that came out of Aladdin’s lamp, like a genie (often female) that slipped through Etienne’s fingers to take shape between the volutes of smoke. And the invisible became visible.
And on the white sheet of paper came to rest without effort or violence, round forms, living forms, senseless forms of incredible truth. Drawings at once precious and subtle, as if born of an inner alchemy in which air currents and dust mingle, drawings as light as eroticism and as strong as the quest for an elusive beauty, drawings of voluntary particles in particular particles, Drawings deposited on paper fibres like sighs filled with waves, or like frequencies in harmony beyond the spectrum, Etienne Gros’ smoke drawings also take us back to the birth of Humanity, when the fires of the first men left an indelible trace of the fire of their lives, on the walls of the caves in which they had stayed.
The great delicacy of the variations of grey on the sheet is also, beyond the technique, the symbol of Art as a whole that exists in transcendence. Etienne Gros’ smoke drawings are full of poetry and meaning at the same time, because what is simple is often essential. Drawing with smoke, what a magical idea!
New York, March 2007

Works by the same artist

Dimensions 140 × 140 cm


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