Last Saturday evening, I walked into Axelle Fine Art and arrived in the land of my dreams.
Eric Roux-Fontaine channels the primeval world of the Meso-American jungle. You understand with every brush stroke that this is his world. If you’ve ever walked through dense tropical treelands, you know that vegetation grows in layers. Some trees are extremely tall with branches only at their tops, providing a canopy over the forest. Others are shorter and wider, surrounded by flowering bushes, filled with birds and butterflies. Now, add to this wonder world a touch of modern whimsy – a pristine white tent, or a tightrope walker, or a bridge going nowhere, or (my favorite) the swimming pool in the middle of a swamp. So perhaps what we really have is Alice in Wonderland in the Costa Rican jungle instead of the English countryside.
This is the world that Roux-Fontaine lives and breathes – even though he lives with his wife and children in Lyon, France. (I can attest to his wife’s being absolutely charming.)
Having seen the paintings on his web site, it’s clear that the whimsical touches are pervasive elements of his work, tying the concrete elemonts of our society to a purer, freer, uncontaminated one.
What is most interesting is the delicacy of Roux-Fontaine’s paintings. His paint is thinned, his brush work is fine, his colors are delicate. He lays layer after layer of branch, leaf and brush, building to a complex, dense composition. The influence of the Chinese scroll painters is huge; they would be proud.
This is Roux-Fontaine’s first exhibit in the US. He is an extremely talented painter with an exceptional body of work. You should take the opportunity to discover his work. Axell is located 472 West Broadway (just south of Houston Street); the show is on view thrugh Dec. 2.