Jan 222008

These paintings are all about harmony — so much so that the method with which it is achieved becomes almost irrelevant. I’m thinking that looking at these pieces could hypothetically amount to taking a few valerian drops (if that is your poison), or perhaps sipping a cup of tea while sitting on the depicted chair or bed — somewhere on the omitted corner, and contemplating. But lets look into that “almost” a little bit closer. The series contain a common feature that undermines the leitmotif: the furniture, and in fact almost every object on the painted surface has been cut or somehow dissected — an innately violent operation, which should disrupt the whole idea of serenity. And, I think that it does, so there must be something else that negates that effect, working as a kind of a sedative (valerian, if you will).

Peaceful Interior Painting

It seems that the omnipresent white tones perform that particular function. Even on a strictly compositional level, the walls inside the premises stabilize and anchor the whole configuration — but it is the cool hue flowing across large sections that tames the hectic and irregular distribution of furniture, as it is appears caught from these angles. In other words, composition by itself cannot contain the “mess,” brightened palette can. Thus, the choice of color assumes an additional meaning (besides artistic unknowns), inseparable from composition; it regulates and controls — and being able to recognize that makes the viewing an especially enjoyable experience. The two basic elements of painting become co-dependent and forge a delicate balance, the living tissue of the domineering concept of harmony, in turn translated to that aerial serenity.

Space also crystallizes through the dissections, through similar indirect, though perhaps more concrete influence. Simply by slicing the objects — or including them partially — the artist implies that they are the disposable occupants of the room, and that the space they fill bears precedence. Interestingly, the included parts often form an approximate circle, surrounding… nothing, that is, space. Furthermore, the corners of the rugs, the seat-back, the chest, the bed, the window, they all tend to point towards the center, the empty space. Even the window curtain, tied and sliced, seems to try to embrace the air, all the while freeing the view into the greater space outside. I will risk a tautology and state that space needs space, and that the compositional device of pulling objects outside the frame provides it.

And here’s a look at the artist’s studio. This photo is from Jeanne Illenye’s blog, where she gives more details on her own working space. Read here in the comments the artist’s description of her working process, a fascinating article.

  4 Responses to “Jeanne Illenye: Serene Spaces”

  1. Beautiful lady, I have been thrilled looking at your art and the story’s along with them! I mentioned it today, but I will reiterate it, any time you want to borrow a porcelain for a painting, please feel free to call. What a pleasure meeting you! Fondly, Bev

  2. Hi, Bev! It’s so good to hear from you and I’m thrilled that you’ve been browsing my site and these amazingly insightful reviews of my work. You are so kind to offer your treasured porcelains for inspiration. I may indeed take you up on your offer when I have a little reprieve from commission work. Always great to hear from you and thank you for your lovely comments! All the best, Jeanne

  3. Hi Jeanne , Malcolm from bangladesh . just had to comment here publicly , about how much I enjoy your works . They are not only inspirational but also soothing to the spirit . To my way of thinking , there are two ingrediants needed for life . One , I guess , is breath and the other is art . Your art breathes life into the soul . I just love it .

  4. Oh, Malcolm, what a beautiful sentiment indeed! I am nearly speechless…. Knowing how many years you’ve spent witnessing the hardships of impoverished communities and your vast efforts to lend them a voice and a face in the world, has not daunted your spirit; rather it has raised you to a place of rare sensitivity about life that few experience. As art is a reflection of one’s soul, I am therefore truly honored that you value my work on such a level. Heartfelt thanks for your beautiful comments as they warm my spirit. Best, Jeanne

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