The film (below) by French director Christophe Loizillon documents painter Eugène Leroy at his home and studio. The film, shot in the same chiaroscuro lighting characteristic of Leroy's paintings, begins with Leroy leafing through his favorite books and speaking animatedly (in French) about Cézanne. The camera lingers on each scene: at 5:00 the camera slowly traverses Leroy's studio crowded with canvases in progress; at 7:00 Leroy draws a sef portrait in the bathroom mirror; at 8:20 he leafs through a portfolio of drawings.
Gwenaël Kerlidou reviews the exhibition Eugène Leroy: Nudes at Michael Werner Gallery, New York, on view through January 5, 2013.
Kerlidou writes that an interesting aspect of Leroy's work is "the insistence not only on the verticality of the standing nude but also on frontality. In that sense, we are not as far as we may think from the mainstay of cutting edge abstract modernism, where critique of the figure is front and center. What Leroy is doing was not so far from what Rothko (born in 1903), for example, was doing around 1949: inverting the tenets of the figure-ground equation, flattening them on a single plane; the painting becoming its own figure... transferring the spiritual presence of the figure to the painting itself, also shifted the emotional weight of the painted drama from a spectacle to a process, from the viewer to the painter; it is not a shared convention with the viewer anymore. The flattening of the plane of representation to that of presentation also turns the painter into the first emotional victim of his own work. In a certain scenario, Rothko dies because he is alone to bear the emotional weight of the impossibility of painting what needs to be painted. Leroy survives because he still shares the burden of the impossibility of representation with the viewer, because there is still a safe distance between the painter’s emotional involvement in his work and his subject matter. In hindsight, Leroy’s warning to young painters can be understood in terms of the dangers of the tragic sublime... There is no need to look for another sublime in Leroy’s view, as it is and always will be right in front of us, in the figure’s presence."
Andrew Russeth reviews the exhibition Flowers for Summer at Michael Werner Gallery on view through September 10, 2011. The show features paintings by Picasso, Kurt Schwitters, Sigmar Polke, Peter Doig, Eugène Leroy and others.
Russeth writes that the "... simple title and self-explanatory premise [belie] the high quality of work on view. That Schwitters, for instance, hangs above a spare and elegant Sigmar Polke, just a few black lines curving over a green cloud. It's a minor work — Farbprobe (Color Study), it's called — but it's also a prototype for a good percentage of the abstract paintings being made today."
An essay on the French painter Eugène Leroy by Gwenael Kerlidou, a Brooklyn-based French painter as well as Leroy's former student.
As Kerlidou describes him Leroy was a "painter of mostly semi-abstract figures in the Flemish expressionist tradition and a humanist in the vein of the late Rembrandt... he avoided both Cubism and Surrealism and never fully embraced abstraction or renounced the figure. This is what sets him apart from others of his generation, but also because he always gave precedence to human content over the rhetoric of style and insisted on the practice of painting as an act of faith."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.