Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to announce Entrevoir, an exhibition of new work by Edwige Fouvry, on view from June 7 to July 7. Fouvry’s paintings are exercises in locating order in chaos. She takes the disarray of our shared worlds and daily lives and examines and rearranges it, seeking harmony and coherence without falling prey to overly neat or artificial resolutions. Making deft choices of color, form, and gesture, she sets abstraction against representation, painted against raw canvas, line against wash, dry against dripping brushwork, and loose gestures against tightly rendered eddies of swirling marks. This visual tension, however, is perfectly calibrated, creating a type of pressure that supports rather than wrenches apart. By drawing the eye in and carefully guiding it around a given scene, Fouvry allows the viewer to apprehend relationships, patterns, and moments of beauty that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Her works describe not the actual world but rather an interior realm; they are the product of her imagination and an intuitive merging of numerous sources, including childhood memories, photographs and memories of photographs, fleeting moments, feelings, and moods that she has mentally archived. Fouvry’s landscapes—both with and without people—are rich, psychological terrains, often water-logged and overrun with flora and fauna. “I found myself wanting to talk about the human inside nature, or nature as seen by the human mind,” she explains in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “This body of work is always about emotions and always centered on humans.”
In recent years, Fouvry has been attracted to marshlands, as evidenced by L’arche (2017) and Vers la plage (2017). These are transitional places that sit between land and sea, intermediaries much like those moments between dream and reality, life and death. By describing these in-between settings—portals to realms unseen but felt, hidden but present—Fouvry is able to access both the natural world and that which lies beyond it. Her style, which moves between abstraction and representation, is critical in this respect. The watery environment of L’arche, for example, is depicted as if in the process of dissolution, with loose, almost wild forms and gestures hinting at a cove or channel lined with tall grasses and untamed branches, while foliage in the background appears to almost liquefy. Out on the watery horizon, the channel is straddled by the specter of an arch—a gate of sorts that announces the voyage out. Color helps underscore the resulting dream-meets-reality effect; although Fouvry’s choices typically reflect the physical properties of real life, lighter colors appear electrified, rendered in vivid, highly saturated hues, while darker colors veer toward black. In these technicolor universes, color is used to open up the imagination and amplify the painting’s impact.
Figures also feature prominently in Fouvry’s works. In her landscapes, they often emerge ghostlike from their surroundings, as in Grand homme nu dans la foret (2017). Occasionally, people are the sole focus of her paintings, as in the fiery and sensual Aphrodite (2017), or her works in pastel, such as Mélancolie (2017). Many of these figures are nude, reflecting Fouvry’s expressed interest in vulnerability. In this way, she is able to paint subjects more directly, revealing a more honest emotional profile.
The late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century tradition of German Romanticism, especially its unique approach to and celebration of nature and the gothic, has been a longtime source of intrigue for Fouvry. This is manifested in the way she carefully captures nature by abstracting it and distilling unseen yet powerful truths—pulling from it streams of energy that flow in and around everything, including through the artist. Her work also evokes the late nineteenth-century French tradition known as Symbolism. Led by Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau, among others, the Symbolists incorporated mythological and dream imagery into their art that was often inspired by intensely private experiences and esoteric, sometimes mystical references. Fouvry also accesses the world of memories and dreams, though she does so not to conjure the whimsical or the supernatural but rather the hyperreal. To achieve this, she mines countless sources to create composites of people and places, stitching together raw, complex psychological portraits. These are dense, active, exuberant paintings—whirlwinds of chaos transmuted into lyrical harmonies. They beguile and inspire, acting as springboards for contemplation that ask us to consider our own hidden worlds.
Edwige Fouvry was born in Nantes, France, in 1970, and currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She received her master’s degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre, Brussels, in 1996. She has exhibited widely across Europe and North America and participated in the 2011 group exhibition HEADS, curated by Peter Selz, at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery. Her work has been reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Ltd., and Artension. This will be her fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.