Nelly Monnier, Pays de Caux, 2018, oil on canvas, 81 x 116 cm / 27 x 46 cm
Nelly Monnier
Solo show


Playing with the ambivalences of concrete and abstract, documentary and imaginary, minimal and abundant forms, my pictorial work begins on the road before it is composed in the studio. The samples I like to paint are taken from all the landscapes I have visited. Ornamental or utilitarian, with an artistic, ritual or descriptive ambition, the objects and patterns of the photographic collection I have been gathering for some years all manifest a common desire to express and embellish homes with shapes and colours. They aim to be distinctive. They are a popular version of the idea of the beautiful and of the efficient.
However, my painting does not intend to reproduce the framing or the immediacy of the photographic image. It is only meant to reactivate the context in which it has been taken, or to remind me of a pattern, or of an impression. The resulting groups of paintings immerse the visitor in a prevailing colour, a material, a season or even a feeling like recently in the exhibition "Parpaing/Chagrin". On a large format, sculptural subjects are rearranged by affinity in natural settings. Among them, abstract paintings of a smaller size create echoes of shapes and colours. The features of small businesses are placed next to frescoes of low-income housings of the 70’s and garden sculptures evoking pagan rites.
More recently, the series Braconnage goes back to the idea of the wild borrowing of shapes and hues in the French countryside. In this set, two abstractions are placed next to each other: on the one hand a picture of vegetation with simplified design and shades and whose opaque hues flatten the subject on the foreground of the painting, and on the other hand the industrial elements which seem to be a geometric crystallization of these very shades. The piece of landscape goes through a process of interpretation (of denaturing), but the industrial elements are precisely reproduced; it is a figurative painting that adopts in a realistic way an existing geometric abstraction. It aims to rediscover the technical gesture of the signs painter. If you thought you were recognizing the representation of reality in this series, it is not so much in the natural patterns that evoke camouflage (a technique invented by a young painter enrolled in World War I) but on the contrary in the accurate reproduction of these utilitarian paintings
Braconnage is therefore a group of diptychs in which cultural forms encounter natural forms in a same painting, not in opposition but on the contrary in a dialogue, side by side, much as the signs that are inserted in a landscape you go through.