My pictorial research questions and explores the physical and mental transformation that human beings undergo on a daily basis. How do our bodies react to emotion and energy? How do they express empathy, courage, desire? How do the rhythms and shapes of human trials, realizations and interpersonal exchanges shape our flesh, our vital organs and our brains?
On the lookout for a balance of power between abstraction and figuration, I use acrylics and their mediums in a gestural style driven by rhythm and music. These movements allow me to develop textures that make visible the magnetic fields created by human relationships. Music leads me to create a structured set of intentionally ambiguous forms. So their range of interpretation goes beyond the descriptive image.
At first, on the blank surface, I write an automatic script in the form of dialogues about human behavior. These texts, which have been necessary to my creative process since 2010, are spontaneous, written without any time for reflection to encourage the connection with my unconscious as much as possible. Since the sentences are more or less hidden by the painting, we can read a few words here and there, suggesting possible ways of interpreting the work.
Despite a denunciatory statement about our lack of transparency, our blindness to ourselves and the conflicts that ensue, my painting is a mediation that brings to light the energetic complexity experienced by human beings, both in their inner selves and in the world around them.
Exhibition project: Tu es formidable
Theme: inner strength
It’s easy to talk about the difficulties that oppress us in the 21st century because they’re so hard to live with: anxiety, depression, gender inequality, racism, global warming. We have to talk about it, we have to change things and build peace in this chaos.
We don’t talk much about love. It’s not easy to tell someone how great they are. We don’t emphasize enough the courage we need today to get through the 21st century.
In my work, I express the force of life. How can we transcend our difficulties to bring out our inner strength and keep on fighting? I dissect the faces and bodies of my characters to reveal the luminous path of their audacity.
Over the past century, our collective consciousness has evolved considerably, thanks in part to the development of social justice, psychology and philosophy. We reap the rewards of our actions more quickly over the course of our lives. And just as quickly, there are consequences; think of the illicit behavior of individuals or governments around the world being revealed and criticized more openly than ever before.
This means that governments can, and sometimes must, reorient their policies, and that we, as individuals, must question our values in the light of our experiences, our relationships with the people around us, our social choices and our relationship with the planet.
Despite this, real social change is slow, and the evolution of our personal consciousness is veiled by a timid, even wilful blindness.
One of the areas in which we have the most power is in consolidating the inner strength that would enable us to support real repositioning of our values. What do we do with this power?
Exhibition project: Peace in this chaos
Theme: overcoming conflict
Conflict is everywhere, both around us and within us. This universal phenomenon generates a tension that human beings experience every day. What is this voltage? What form does it take on a daily basis? And how can we translate into images the resilience we need in these times of upheaval?
Close to home, we’re seeing record suicide rates, an increase in the number of people taking antidepressants, unstable relationships and family breakdown. Humanity is put to the test with refugees, victims of terrorist attacks and armed conflicts.
Using live models positioned to express the difficulty of living in this chaos, on the one hand, and hope, empathy and solidarity, on the other, I draw and paint bodies. My paintbrush is both a sword to fight this disorder and a scalpel to dissect the internal dysfunctions. I scrutinize the interiority of the people staged: the movement of their emotions and doubts, the structure of their inner strength, the intensity of their suffering, the workings of their questioning, their symbiotic link with their environment.
For example, in the painting Paix dans ce chaos, the rock-like shapes painted into the human body are the same shapes that are part of the ambient chaos enveloping it. In spite of this, a feeling of peace emanates from him as the virginity of the white paper illuminates his body to the point of spilling over all around him.
Since everything is transformation and impermanence, no character is irrevocably overwhelmed or released; beings experience as many conflicts as they free themselves from, they are in motion and immersed in an environment of tension and harmony, exchange and hope. They evolve in microcosms charged with meaning, demonstrating that the human condition is a complex, interconnected and provisional state whose multiple experiences reveal a common essence potentially generating solidarity.
While denouncing the negative effects of the many conflicts that strike us, my works exude a joie de vivre, and in this sense I have a real message to pass on to my contemporaries.
Exhibition project: the Cheaters
Theme: self-delusion, hypocrisy, cheating
A frequent theme in my work is the tension between authenticity and distorted life. This universal theme manifests itself differently for each of us: lack of self-awareness, hypocrisy, abuse of trust, cheating.
This quest led me to the works of the old masters, in whom I found, from the Renaissance onwards, the same desire to reveal the richness of human nature by placing it at the center of the universe. Humanism was born at a time of great effervescence. Some of the scenes painted still represent our current situation (corruption, police repression, inequality between men and women) as much as our human relationships (domination, aggression, solidarity, love).
For example, in my painting Il est ailleurs, inspired by Caravaggio’s The Capture of Christ (1605), I blur the details of human silhouettes to highlight the brutal gesture of the representative of the law and the deviousness of Judas the traitor’s multi-directional gaze. In my works inspired by Caravaggio’s Cheaters (1595), the manipulators are shrouded in a dark aura. Their gnarled interiority swirls towards the candid card player with the illuminated face.
While criticizing the prevailing cynicism, the dynamic ensemble of movements in my work exudes optimism. Since everything is transformation and impermanence, no character is irrevocably female or male, cheater or victim; players are on the verge of action and open to anything. Their environment is made up of magnetic fields made visible by materials, colors and textures.
A number of questions arise concerning the effect of these vibrations on them, and conversely the effect they themselves produce on their environment: how does this received or released energy, which appears negative or positive at first glance, transform a person? Can this transformation be a guarantee of enrichment if its origins lie in the malicious actions of others? How does body language address consciousness?
The human beings I paint evolve in microclimates charged with meaning, demonstrating that the human condition is a complex, interconnected and provisional state whose multiple experiences reveal a common essence potentially generating solidarity.
5570 rue Cartier, Montreal, H2H 1X9 – (514) 567-8255 – email@example.com / Copyright © 2023 Hélène La Haye. All rights reserved. / Any unauthorized reproduction or distribution of works available on this site is prohibited. / Made by Artlab