Grant Wahlquist Gallery is pleased to present “TWELVE” a solo exhibition of paintings by Henri Paul Broyard—the artist’s first. The show will run from February 2 through March 17, 2018. An opening reception will occur on Friday, February 2 from 5 – 8 pm. The gallery will host a Q&A with the artist on Saturday, February 3 at 1 pm.
Broyard often begins with a series of purely abstract marks, sometimes covering them to create paintings that are representational, yet never entirely so. In the same way, a domestic scene never remains merely that, but becomes a way of organizing areas of almost autonomous abstraction. Though his color palette and interest in a “vintage” aesthetic are contemporary, Broyard’s carefully considered, iterative process of looking and mark making is the result of a deep engagement with painting, from the intimate modernism of Eduard Vuillard to the neo-romanticism of his former teacher Peter Doig.
The dozen paintings in “TWELVE” offer an overview of the breadth of Broyard’s practice. The geometry and flattened perspective of CCIP, 2015, a blue and periwinkle interior, nods to Henri Matisse’s seminal View of Notre Dame, 1914, as well as its most famous descendants, Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” paintings, with a dash of Ellsworth Kelly’s drawings of plants for good measure. Plants return in the form of potted yellow marigolds in WHCZ, 2017, this time placed with a sculpture of a woman, marbles, and two small framed abstract images on a table top. Broyard’s interiors often contain images of paintings; while here their forms echo his handling of the flowers, the brushy surface of the tabletop painting in NPTK, 2017, ironically suggests more dimensionality than the patterned vase it rests in front of. In HTLF, 2015, chalk white daisies appear on black wallpaper behind a painting of a white brick wall, its surface and frame covered in curved blue, green, and pink lines as well as yellow letters that intriguingly do not correspond with its title.
The exhibition also includes three works that approach total abstraction. OVL, 2015, features a blue and white rectangle whose painterly surface contrasts with a nearly flat black and white background; two u-shaped marks in its upper half and a small white rectangle below it suggest it could be a painting of birds in a sky with an exhibition label. Conjoined orange and brown shapes appear to float on a black background in CPID, 2015, their organic forms suggesting they might be flora. The predominantly purple LO, 2017, evokes the all-over quality of abstract expressionism, with pale spray painted vertical lines that draw on both graffiti and Sigmar Polke.
“TWELVE” also presents five significant domestic interiors. In SOFW, 2017, a brown painting containing marks that somehow suggest a smiling cat rests on a black headboard over a blue and white striped bedspread that recalls Daniel Buren. HIJC, 2017, includes a small multi-colored painting isolated on a dark beige wall, its irregular brushwork contrasting with the smooth surfaces and patterns of the furniture below. In the three remaining paintings, Broyard treats the surface of domestic objects themselves as though they are paintings. DJNRY, 2016, includes a book whose blue and white cover could be a painting of a sky, the white shelf below it mimicking a wall drawing by Sol LeWitt. The surfaces of the small pedestal in the right of SCRASC, 2017, also invoke LeWitt, the large black and gold marks on a neighboring pillow equal parts calligraphy and 1980s party dress. The entire wall and floor of DJI, 2015, almost function as independent paintings, this time in the style of Cy Twombly and Albert Oehlen respectively.
Though all artists must wrestle with the work of those who came before, this task often seems most daunting for painters in view of the medium’s long history. Many willfully refuse to do so or resort to pastiche. In “TWELVE,” Broyard demonstrates that it remains possible to make use of painting’s history without remaining subject to it, with grace and without angst.
Henri Paul Broyard received a B.F.A. in Drawing and Painting from the California College of the Arts in 2013. He attended the Klasse Peter Doig at the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, in 2014. His work has been included in exhibitions at: SOLA Art Gallery, Los Angeles; the School of Painting Hangzhou, China; Tom Dick or Harry, Dusseldorf; 41 Cooper Square Gallery, New York; Haphazard Gallery, Los Angeles; and 119 Essex Street, New York. His work has been featured in Surface and Studio Visit magazines. Broyard lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
The gallery is located at 30 City Center, Portland, Maine. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm, and by appointment. For more information, visit http://grantwahlquist.com, call 207.245.5732, or email [email protected].