Thomas Auriol‘s (b. 1987) body of work is inspired by the primary directions of abstraction as well as non-representational elements and their interrelation. His practice does not seem to attempt to represent external reality, but rather strives to reach its effect by depicting patterns, colours, shapes and textures. His paintings converge features from abstraction and illusion aspiring to represent a flourishing instance of the misinterpreted insight of a sensory experience. They depict abstract forms in lively colours and imaginative attributes. Throughout his abstract paintings, Auriol has developed an interest in the motif of reflection; in his art statement, the French painter highlights that “part of my painting work starts with the idea of reflection. Objects, landscapes and abstract motifs of all kinds are projected on canvas”. Observing the physical is a major inspiration for him during the painting process. The artist delivers an explicit aesthetic with a distinctive irregularity that characterises his technique; he defines colourful deconstructed compositions within the same painting.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Various geometries beautifully fill up his canvases with dazzling transparencies that tend to enhance the final abstract result. All his visual arrangements range from pastel to more bright and dynamic tones. In his two very recent paintings, both executed in 2017, Le Bouclier and the Des Cendres, there is a strong evidence of abstraction infused by noteworthy characteristics, such a poetic set of natural elements, non-realistic identity depictions and unearthly visualizations. Furthermore, what is remarkable is the meticulous balance between his illustrative shapes and forms and the attentive effort to render methodical details that underline the artist’s involvement in a fastidious refinement approach.
In his latest works, an additional highlight of Auriol’s imagery is the mindful set of hidden sub-images that elevate the paintings’ visually expressive qualities and the observing character of his drawings. A multi-dimensional read is also allowed on the artist’s compositions, offering a second or third message to the viewer’s eyes. All artistic features on canvas work together in order to render an alternative compositional strategy. The motif of reflection mingles with the abstract elements revealing an interesting type of painting within a painting.
Although the less unified compositions do not always allow a swift and easy comprehension, the artist’s pure abstract language is not necessarily an obstacle to uncomplicated interpretations. A series of uncanny compositions and amorphous designs usually give the dominant emphasis on his artwork that directly draws our attention. On top of that, Auriol’s recent body of work incorporates a rather amusing movement through optical illusions.
Thomas Auriol lives and works in Saint-Brieuc, France. He received his Masters of Fine Arts – Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique (DNSEP) at ESAM Caen in 2014, and also one year later the artist had his art residency at Caen. Ηis work has been exhibited in a number of art galleries in France, Spain and Switzerland.
In his interview with Art Verge, Thomas Auriol shares his approach on his alarming juxtapositions and other art issues, while providing some interesting insights about his daily life. Check it out!
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Thomas Auriol: Now I work mainly with small coloured sketches I draw. Painting itself is the subject but I understood recently that I was trying to articulate my sporting sensations with painting. Practicing surf sports (I don’t like to use the term “extreme sports”) gave me a new look on the landscape especially since I started flying. In my work, I often use a kind of zenital point of view, it is a way to experience surfaces on the canvas and think about how to jump or slide from space/element to another one.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
TA: Floating, initial, artificial.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
TA: I discovered Gilles Aillaud’s works when I was a student and even if my tastes have changed in a lot of domains, I’m still very attracted by his paintings. The framing, the light, the distance with the subject is incredible. More recently I felt really inspired by Christophe Robe paintings, I went to his studio and he gave me precious advice on some painting techniques. I also like to look at the young generation of German painters. We are neighbors but they have a completely different story with painting and in the end it is something exotic for us!
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
TA: Painting takes a lot of time and my friends know that but I feel grateful when they “force” me to join them. Painting is too addictive!
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
TA: This is probably the most difficult thing to know. The saddest thing is when you continue painting and you understand too late that you should have stopped one step before!
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
TA: I arranged a painting studio in my flat. The studio is a bit small but the surrounding is incredible. I live in a village near the sea, we have big cliffs where I often go to fly (paraglide) with friends. My painting schedule is more or less fixed by the weather forecast.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
TA: I just come back from Paris where I usually go to see lots of exhibitions in a very short time (2-3 days each month) but this time I only went to visit artist’s studios.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
TA: If few people from a group are seduced by the work I feel more than happy.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
TA: She really likes it and I enjoy so much when she is surprised by a new body of work.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
TA: I need to sleep 9 hours each night so I’m more from the afternoon. But I have to say that I enjoy from time to time working when I feel that the city is falling asleep.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
TA: Half full.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
TA: I’m preparing myself to move to Düsseldorf for a year. I feel the need to be surrounded by artists and reconnect with my German roots (half of my family lives in the south of Germany).