PAINTING MELANCHOLY IN A PARTY DRESS
SWAN SCALABRE is a French artist who has lived and worked in the department of the Gers, in the south-west of France, for several years. She received her degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, studying overseas at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Her work has been exhibited in art galleries in France, as well as internationally in the United States and Asia.
Through her portraits of women and children, SWAN SCALABRE explores the question of truth and the divine. Her oil paintings on wood are distinguished by the smallness of the format in contrast to the immensity of the subject itself. In her studio, she works at a table with her head bowed in concentration. This is a position that is familiar to us as that of the woman at work, the nun at prayer, and the writer in front of the blank page. Her work draws inspiration in many ways from the representation of femininity in early Christian icons, but here women who are silent can speak. Carefully placed in oak boxes, the mute paintings of SWAN SCALABRE are full of joy and pain.
The pictorial universe is resolutely feminine, but more than that it is existential. The characters take their place between the flowers and the clouds, absorbed by the tormented skies. The presence of a never-ending yet obscure threat is represented by broad brush strokes, a reckoning of sorts.
The writer Elisabeth Barillé unearthed these words: 'To contemplate them is to be torn from the brutalities of the world outside. Delighted, without doubt, perhaps saved.'