Hugo Capron’s (b. 1989) paintings rely on a practice that is marked by the act of painting itself. Applying a spontaneous painterly language on his canvases, the French artist employs an energetic approach with stimulating colours, brushstrokes and scribbles. Capron’s contemporary gestural abstraction is remarkable and achieved though a vivid and luminous colour palette, along with the visual sensation of a metallic shine. His free-flowing abstract forms construct a dynamic environment, while his unforced style with lines and shapes manages to convey the minimalistic aesthetics that characterise the artist’s identity. Capron does not intent to blend variegated arrangements on his canvases; on the contrary, each time there is a distinctive selection of hues and shades, such as yellow, orange, red or grey, that dominates his body of work and consequently creates lustrous contrasts.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Executed in a more gestural and expressionistic manner, his grey-based paintings, such as Irines Serenade, 2018, and Amoco Cadiz, 2018, infuse a perplexed synthesis that is in contrast with the more subtle and minimalistic works with the redish curvy lines, such as the Mirrors I & II, 2018. Monochromatic multi-layered brushwork and looping forms are fading into each other completely filling up the half surface of the paintings, whislt the rest remains untouched. In Mirror series some more pre-planned (or not), effortless and tinier scribbles manage to rule the whole surface of the canvas. Despite the fancy and smoothly elaborated marks on his large-scale canvases, the artist offers space in his compositions and successfully avoids constructing an unbalanced painting result before it turns chaotic or over-decorated.
Usually expressionistic abstractions could end up with a tentative composition for the viewer’s eyes. Capron’s painting gestures look confident reflecting an unfolded emotional depth that strives to come out on the surface; here his work presents a more mindful and sophisticated appeal, while examining his lyrically abstract imagery. Taking into consideration the main structure or even the substructure of his work, these refined and serene depictions reveal an open call to interpretation and interaction thanks to the metallic shades. The ambient light is able to change the artwork’s perception in relation to the viewer’s position rendering further and deeper engagements with Capron’s personal expression on his canvases. Regardless the artist’s different series of paintings, there is a stylistic continuity in his imagery, which is identifiable; the artist’s style remains recognisable and his hands’ signature on canvas is also distinctive due to his unique technique and palette.
Hugo Capron (b. 1989) lives and works in Dijon, France. The emerging artist has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout France and around the world in countries such as the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan. His work is in the collections of FRAC Burgundy, The Consortium, and Adhex Technologies among others.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Hugo Capron: It depend of the series, but mainly, go to my studio and paint on canvas. Stretch, paint and trash, again and again. For the “Efficiency” series, I just use the quantity of paint that the producer declare enough to cover the surface. Absorption and thickness on the raw linen create the emptiness. I stop,to paint when I don’t have more paint. It’s a way to decide a composition and to finish the canvas. The work is also to decide to keep this canvas or not.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
HC: This is maybe very common, but of course Claude Monet, about the light and the reflection. Also the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima who brought me to Japan few times already. I’m interested about his vision of engagement in work. Also, I’m looking at many painters as Michel Parmentier, Claude Rutault, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Jacqueline Humphries, David Hominal, and more. Something between gestual abstraction and conceptual paintings. Music also take an important part of my inspiration. I often listen hundred times the same song during few weeks. Recently the Sleaford Mods and Kill The Vultures.
AV: Creating a new artwork 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?
HC: I haven’t been out with friends for a while now! Focusing on my research. When I’m in a research time, I stop everything else, especially boxing and hanging out! All my life is based on my painting planning.
AV: How do you know when artwork is finished?
HC: When I do not have more paint in my pot!
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
HC: I share my studio with another French painter Hugo Pernet. I’m often wondering how does it affect our works to share this large square space. I use to go to paint when Hugo doesn’t stay at the studio. When he’s there, I do all the other things you can do in a studio. Also, I’m limited with a three meters high ceiling. I dream about a huge space with a ten meters high ceiling and a huge door to bring them out.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
HC: Last week in Paris, I visited few shows, and especially liked Albert Oehlen at Gagosian and Maw Hetzler. Nathan Hylden was great too. Definitely, one of the greatest show I saw this year was Benoît Maire at the CAPC in Bordeaux!
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
HC: So paint is just that?
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
HC: She likes it of course, because I’m her son. But honestly, she doesn’t think a lot about it I guess. She’s more interested about how I will pay my next rental.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
HC: A night owl who tries to be a morning person.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
HC: The glass is half.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
HC: My monographic publication will be printed very soon, a good way to finish the series I worked on those last years. So the plan is to make new works, new series.
Also, I will be resident at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto next fall, really looking forward to this!
© All images are courtesy of Hugo Capron