Stories Untold in the Garden of Earthly Delights

Nicole Etienne

June 1rst, 2016 - June 26th, 2016

eden 2016


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

Nicole Etienne’s menagerie is a wild and interesting one – 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.

In this series of paintings, Etienne has created a sumptuous feast of animals, colour, beauty and opulence, as is characteristic of her style. The compositions mix her dreams with myth, creating new stories of heroic, sensual and majestic women. 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.

Within this interplay of visual narrative and self-reflection, Etienne positions the female figure as a romantic heroine within the intricate tales her works convey to the audience. Far from being simply a subject of the male gaze, the female nude challenges the viewer in her bold directness of presentation, drawing attention to the fact that the subjects indeed represent multiple layers of meaning, especially due to the fashion in which these intimate encounters have been exposed on canvas. Etienne’s subjects are presented with an aura of openness and candour, completely self-assured in their environment and confident in their expressions of intimacy.

This narrative is enhanced by the artist’s attention devoted to the most minute details included in each scene, and by the use of a delicate distribution of light and shadow to bring romantic landscapes, enigmatic interiors and sensuous female nudes to life.

As visually striking as they are conceptually intriguing, the paintings invite the viewer to engage on a deeply personal level, to ponder their own identity and to surrender to a process of self-reflection through encountering Etienne’s elaborate subjects.

“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.

Etienne’s work explores self-identity as a mirror, juxtaposing the viewer’s hidden thoughts and intimate desires with the direct openness of her subjects.

Etienne lives and works between California and London. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and found in some of the most discerning collections.

To attend the opening on Wednesday 1st June 2016, from 5-8pm, please RSVP to [email protected]

Exhibition open daily to Grace members, general viewing by appointment only.

Commissioned work possible.

To attend the opening, view the exhibition or for more details about the artist and available works, please contact Natalie Clifford [email protected]

The exhibition will be hosted at Grace Belgravia as part of their exhibition program.

Grace Belgravia

11c West Halkin Street,

London SW1X 8JL

+44 (0)20 7235 8900

Image reference: Eden, 
2016, Mixed media on canvas

About Grace Belgravia

Grace Belgravia is London’s leading health, wellbeing and lifestyle private members club for women built on the philosophy that to thrive in today’s society we need to invest in our greatest asset, our health and focuses on wellbeing from the inside out.

The Club is led by a team of internationally recognised medical experts and therapists. There is a dynamic events and networking calendar with a focus on arts, fashion, culture, current affairs, health and wellbeing.


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