In the South of France, Jean-Charles Blais continued his exploration of bold abstracted forms, turning progressively into figures, painted on thick layers of large billboard posters. The densely layered posters convey a sense of timelessness, playing with the viewer’s subconscious, on emotional, visual, and physical levels.
The comparison of works from different periods, which simultaneously work on different levels, is a common practice in the work of Jean Charles Blais. His work is informed by the diverse application of the medium, by using the couture as drawing or painting. With the help of digital media, billboards and other graphics emerge.
The new works shown at the gallery fit into his figurative repertoire, whose fascination lies in the various layers of paper. It seems that the memory of forgotten forms, which were present in early works from the 80s, have been rediscovered. The polysemy arises through incessant metamorphoses, which play with the staging of the body and ambiguity. Forms are created, which arise from the concurrence of depth and surface – modern, unique, consistent and elusive.
One looks for the empty forms, which emerge as memories of an absent body only to immediately disappear again.
Jean-Charles Blais was born in1956 in Nantes. He studied at the University of Beaux-Arts in Rennes, France from 1974 to 1979. He lives and works between Paris and Vence in South of France.
Jean Charles Blais’ body of work abounds with art historical references, touching on the work of artists such as Henri Matisse, Kasimir Malevitsch and Philip Guston. He uses this as the basis to develop his own, distinctive artistic lexicon to portray the human body, which in his newest works in particular is emotionally deeply compelling.
Paintings by Jean Charles Blais have been on show at the Cabinet d’art graphique, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris (1987), at the Pinakothek der Moderne Munich, the Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain Nice, the CAPC Musée d’art contemporain Bordeaux, and the Musée Picasso in Antibes (2013). Gallery shows include Leo Castelli, New York (1984), Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York (1994), Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris (1992-1998), Kenji Taki, Tokyo (2000) and on a regular basis at Catherine Issert Gallery (from 1983 until now).
Jean-Charles Blais designed different projects in the urban space, such as the posters frieze in the station « Assemblée Nationale » in the Parisian subway (2013).
The artist’s works can be found in several major collections, including the collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, the Carré d’Art Nîmes, the CAPC Bordeaux, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Musée National Monaco and the Centre Pompidou Paris.