Madelyn Jordon Fine Art is pleased to present HALF WAY TO REALITY AND A LITTLE BIT LOST, a solo exhibition of recent paintings by French artist SANDRINE KERN. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with MJFA. The exhibition will run from January 24 - March 7, 2020, with an opening reception on Friday, January 24, 2020 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and meet the artist.
The exhibition introduces Sandrine Kern’s uniquely ethereal, other-worldly paintings that integrate aspects of figuration and abstraction. At first glance, the works suggest traditional landscape, but the idea quickly dissolves into notions of abstraction as her indistinguishable, evocative settings are purposefully clouded or hazed to communicate a fading memory or transmit a feeling of a place that is imagined in the artist’s mind. Mostly void of details, the suggestive representations are more of a symbolic reference– a tree here, a hill there, yet nothing is concrete, as if the image is straddling in and out of reality. Within well-worked fields of color appear sudden moments of clarity— a tree trunk, a lily pad— via gestural brushstrokes loosely defining a form. As Kern states: “My paintings are developed intuitively through multiple layers with imagery that is revealed, then partially hidden, and finally transformed to imbue deeper meaning than representational depiction can express." Additionally, in developing these new compositions, Kern lightened her palette, experimenting with softer and warmer color tones, a direct departure from previous works that often employed more somber and moody hues.
Kern’s canvases of rich color are achieved through a singular and complex art practice. Actively engaging with diverse materials and processes, the thick surfaces of Sandrine’s paintings are built up with a unique amalgamation of oil paint, oil sticks, pastels and cold wax which create a creamy, rich surface with an illusion of depth. The use of cold wax in her paintings blurs the line between oil and encaustic, allowing for expressive, textured brush marks. Utilizing plastic brushes, various other utensils and paper towels to move the paint around, Kern continually manipulates the surface through the reductive process of scraping away layers with a knife and solvents engendering a dense, subtle and deepening mixture of overlapping colors and shapes. The translucent quality of each painting allows light to pass through the layers of the matte finish paint.
Kern’s painting titles offer subtle clues as to the nature of her artwork. Titles such as Sitting in the Park and When I Woke Up, an Elvis Presley song, provide a glimpse of one inspirational source of her aesthetic. At other times, titles are less revealing. For example, the painting Pink Daze refers to her intimate experience of a hot summer day. In Winter White Out, Kern’s objective was to create a white painting, although the title refers to a winter storm. Artistic influences Alberto Giacometti, Édouard Vuillard, and Nicolas de Staël are important to her work, seen in the dance between abstraction and figuration, and in her color choices. What brings these works together is that they capture something improbable that leaves room for imaginative connections to a mood of a past moment or an idea of a place— a half way to reality.
Sandrine Kern lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She was born in Paris, France where she received an MFA with Honors from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts. Recent solo and group exhibitions include William Shearburn Gallery, St Louis, MO, Thomas Paul Fine Art, LA, CA, Nikola Rukaj Gallery, Toronto, Canada and Gail Harvey Gallery, Santa Monica, CA., OK Harris Gallery, among others. Kern was elected for membership of the Foundation Taylor in Paris, France in June 2016. Her work is to be found in numerous private collections including The Mitchell Collection, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, David Schwimmer, and Lisa Kudrow.