– Cécile Girard Paintings –
These paintings are born out of travel and the meeting of Asian and Western civilizations.
The references underlying these paintings are taken from primitive Chinese characters, pictograms from the Yunnan province and mainly Byzantine and Coptic forms.
In Cecile’s work, the choice of tones, blue-greens and orange-reds of Yunnan, and the increased use of outlining, as in the Chinese calligraphy method, gives birth to a new language combining the most ancient of Chinese and Western symbolism. Cécile Girard creates her own pictorial vocabulary, a fusion of images expressing emotions and reflections by using various elements and symbols of ancient China and Western aesthetics.
Her graphic style emphasizes the special treatment of materials – specifically custom-made paper from An Hui, China. By kneading, stitching and thickening the rice paper, she gave this traditional Chinese material a new life with dense, textured and yet flexible shape. Her special technique for treating the rice paper combines Chinese ink, acrylics and oil in bright and deep colors producing a rich artistic effect.
In Cecile’s work, the use of space is inspired by the principle of woodcarving and ornamental screens in ancient Chinese architecture, one that converges with those of the treatment of light in Italian stained glass art.
In some of these paintings, we see a gradual disappearance of the outline. It is no longer used as a systematic divider of space but rather to emphasize volume and increased depth of field.
Elements of Chinese landscape painting are ever present. In her latest works including the series of Fragment, Veil and Glass, however, we see a relative de-emphasis of Chinese landscape and a return to the curve and to a broad gesture borrowed from Chinese calligraphy.
In the Fragment series, curves and broken lines are used and the style fully adopts the techniques embedded in Chinese calligraphy. Though painting media still plays a dominant role in her work, Cecile returns to the essence of painting: subjectively weakened space and depth of field, simplified elements provides an intuitive expression that combines free lines with Zhongcai techniques, thus creating brand-new deconstruction of the picture and expressing its most primitive strength.
In the Veil series, the paintings morph into pictograms. The lines gradually turn into signs. The colors become more see-through like a veil. The forms are more barren. As for the paper, it has been pressed flat so the light and colors are fused together, bringing up an additional layer of light.
In the Glass series, the use of space is reconsidered once more. This time dense paper is assembled into modules, creating a three-dimensional and opaque effect. Light bounces off this “fabric-like support”. The numerous intended cracks are reminiscent of stained glass technique. Elements of the Chinese tree motif are embedded in the canvas. The initial impression is of mystery, density and abundance of lines, colors and texture.