Isabelle Ménéan is inspired by ancient botanical prints and their elements of excess—microscopic precision, exaggeration of movement, and saturation of color—which are meant to reproduce nature as intricately as possible, but which end up giving the drawn plants a studied and strangely artificial aspect. These painted drawings or engravings evoke the exploratory travels and exotic dreams of a world which was not yet entirely mapped or defined. By selecting a certain color or an interesting shape, the artist develops her own fantastic flora by recreating the flowers and other vegetation using details drawn from this inexhaustible source. She lets herself be carried along by the sensuality and esthetics of shape, by the joy of color, as she meanders the subconscious and favors improvisation–something which is intrinsic to her favored medium of watercolor. Ever since childhood, a period of her life she vividly recollects, she has been fascinated by the details of nature, from the slightest nuance to the subtlest movement. And it is exactly this sense of wonder-before-nature that she conveys through her watercolors. The plants which grow from her imagination ultimately appear almost abstract, either through the multiplication of a motif or through the extraction and exploration of a detail. These forms seem curiously familiar, hybrid, eliciting varied, unclear visual memories that lie somewhere between the real and the imaginary realm. This exhibition beckons the viewer to a walk through the playful furrows of an interior garden.
After studying at the Ecole d’Arts Appliqués in Lyon (Visual Communication Department), Isabelle Ménéan received her degree in 2008 from Geneva’s Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (today the HEAD) in painting/drawing. She works at her atelier in the Usine Kugler (GE) since 2010 and has taught since 2007 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts du Genevois (Annemasse, FR). She has exhibited her work on many occasions, both collectively and as a solo artist, in Geneva and Lausanne as well as Grenoble and Arles. She has had two artist’s books published with Editions Ripopée and was included in the Revue Aristide in 2018.