Nicole Etienne

February 13 - 20, 2017

Nicole Etienne | love

13th to 20th February 2017

Space SBH Contemporary Art Gallery, St Barth is delighted to present this exhibition of new paintings by artist Nicole Etienne.

Love and beauty have long inspired artists over the ages and Nicole Etienne is no exception. A deeply passionate and creative artist, Nicole’s canvases are bursting with soul and love – giving back to the viewer what she has poured into them. Diverse too is her subject matter and her domination of the paint brush successfully translates through landscapes, nudes, still life and wildly imagined scenes that are both intriguing and expertly executed.

“Painting is just like love making. Sometimes slow, sensuous strokes of the brush and prolonged drags of charcoal are right. And other times quick splatters and fast lush swipes of colour are the technical narrative a painting needs to reveal the story. One of my favourite artists, Eric Fischl, told me that if I am not feeling what I am painting, nobody else will either. I actualize joy while creating art, sort of rev up the engine and materialize sex, love, lust… whatever it is I am trying to evoke.” Nicole Etienne, 2013.

Her new show, “Love,” intends to inspire exactly that emotion. As the late Carrie Fisher said “Take your broken heart, and make art”. The works evoke love in all of its forms, including small paintings of hearts. “I painted non-stop for weeks, not sleeping much, up before dawn, working until my hands ached. I made heart after heart, loving each one that grew. If one was sad or angry, I made it jolly. If one was ashamed, I forgave it. If one was blissfully abundant, I let it be,” says the artist.

Etienne’s landscapes are opulent. They are as rich in colour as they are in texture. They are built up layer upon layer of oil paint mixed withmica chips, copper, silver and white gold andoccasionally scattered with crystals and semi precious stones. More than being works of art, her pieces are like little bijoux.

Etienne’s landscapes are very ambiental. They capture that feeling that the light creates at different times of day. Her canvases emote. Her practice probes the beauty inherent in the atmosphere between the sky, land and sea; exploring the play of light upon water in an aesthetic, emotional, and visceral way. She does this by appealing to our senses and our intuition, and by drawing on earthy materials like aluminum, stones and metals. The finished work has an illuminated, romantic, powerful yet delicate presence which captures the shift between reality and paradise.

The show also presented ‘Eden’ from the Menagerie series which is a wild and unique body of work – created imaginatively scene after scene across her canvases which make up the pages of her story. Her collection of curiosities often involving fictitious or mythological characters excite us. These exotic animals placed in what would otherwise be ordinary but elegant interiors, set the scene for the animals to bring to life a beautiful chaos.

Etienne has created a sumptuous feast of animals, colour, beauty and opulence, as is characteristic of her style. Combining elements of a Contemporary figurative style with Rubenesque notions of colour and sensuality, Etienne’s ethereal scenes entice the audience into a surreal world of moments of private passions and dream-like scenarios. Emphasizing movement through expressive strokes of colour, many of Etienne’s works draw inspiration from classical literature and mythology, firmly establishing an intricate narrative to accompany the visual imagery of the paintings.

Etienne lives and works between California and London. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and found in some of the most discerning collections. “My special thanks to Natalie Clifford. She is a spark of joy in my life, a great inspiration and beloved friend. I’m honoured to work with her.”

The solo exhibition runs until 20th February 2017 and pieces will feature in a mixed exhibition at our Gustavia and Taiwana Hotel galleries through to the end of the month.

For more details about the artist and available works, please contact the gallery on [email protected]