14 December 1995 - 17 February 1996
For the first time, this exhibition presents abstract and figurative works by Vincent Bioulès, in the city where he lives and works.
A founder member of the Supports-Surfaces group, and the art review Peinture, cahiers théoriques, Bioulès was part of the widespread artistic revolt of the late 1960s, which sought to apprehend the full materiality of artworks and their chosen media. Hence his use of strips of colour, reminiscent of Barnett Newman's "zip" paintings, created using sticky tape, and devoid of narrative content. Colour is no longer used simply to clothe underlying forms: Bioulès introduces us to colour as an independent reality in its own right. After a series of radical experiments in the American formalist tradition, Bioulès reaffirmed his place at the heart of the Western painterly tradition. The surfaces of his pictures have taken on an increasingly subtle quality; the coherence of the picture plane is ruptured, giving way to a suggestion of new depth. Matisse-inspired themes such as a window, or the fountains of Aix-en-Provence, herald his consummate return to figurative work. With serene assurance, Bioulès revisits the main currents of Western art from the Italian Primitives to Corot, Matisse, Derain and Dufy. His subjects are quintessentially traditional – landscapes, still-lives, nudes and portraits – but his approach to figuration is every bit as radical as his earlier approach to abstraction. As such, his work addresses the central issues of art today, as seen in his large landscapes painted at the Villa Bianco in Marseille – striking a miraculous balance between sharp, punctilious drawing and colour, the anecdotal and the minimal, the immediacy of sensation and a nobler, more distant style. The exhibition includes 50 canvases, and 30 drawings and watercolours, tracing Bioulès's exemplary, personal artistic progress – the personal journey that underpins any truly creative act.