The drawings and installations of the young French artist Fabrice Cazenave (b 1975) have a clarity and facility that is well beyond his years. Embracing a tough practice that tests himself in exactitude and hard graft, Cazenave’s work transcends the mark into a space that is both crystalline in intention and visceral in delivery. Thematic reach from Landscape to Self Portraiture shows boldness and maturity. For example, Cazenave's earlier luscious woodland studies suggest a latter-day Theodore Rousseau on the loose in the Bois de Boulogne (with the additional frisson of the artist’s self in certain studies), entered into the forest as sexual labyrinth perhaps, on an assignation or rescue misson, lashed like Turner to his mast.
Recent large scale Anatomie drawings of up to 2.5m wide exhibit a more Art Informel approach, displaying a Furor Poeticus and a delight in looseness that comes from hard work, focus, practice and looking. These extremely confident works of self–examination recall the fevered exorcisms of Artaud in their Gothic seepages and loose teeth*. The Aura series may remind one of O’Keefe’s plant studies, but of the very metaphysical fizzings and forces of Nature rather than its flowerings. Additionally, Cazenave has also recently explored the very act of framing these explorations in installations of drawings paired with architectonic assemblages.
*See a full screen pdf of Untitled (Anatomie) 2009, Charcoal and pencil on paper, 150 x 250 cm here
In July 2011 Cazenave took his work into new territory by drawing under hypnosis. You can watch the fascinating process here and follow the attached links to view some of the extraordinary results.
Anatomie 7, 2009
Pencil on paper, 50 x 62cm
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