BLACK PAINTINGS - Olivier Renevret
10 October 2021 - 30 october 2021
I am showing at PS a series of paintings that I made this winter in the Netherlands when I was staying with my uncle and aunt. They live in the house that was my grandparents' house, where my mother grew up. We used to go there every year when we were little to visit family in the Netherlands. Painting in this place was special to me. As my aunt said, four generations worked and lived there. My childhood memories were mixed with my painting projects. As if to move forward I had to first visit the past.
For this series of paintings I used my favorite tools which are black paint, large format canvases and bare hands. There were however small variations in comparison to my previous paintings. I used oil paint for the first time instead of silkscreen ink and a bigger format inspired by Andy Warhol's Shadows series.
I painted the canvas on the plywood floor of the barn with the simple intention of covering the entire surface with black streaks. I put paint on my hands and laid them on the canvas creating a deep black stain. Then I spread this stain as much as I could to cover the white, creating various densities of black. Then I repeated the same process on a new part of the format. By spreading the paint with my hands, the lines of the plywood floor also appeared on the canvas. Every painting was made on the same spot so that the lines would be similar on all of them.
When I paint I always have the dual notion of structure and improvisation, like in jazz. Every series has its own structure which is a common process to all the paintings. Here the structure is made up of my original intention (to completely cover the canvas with black marks) and my tools (black paint, bare hand, the placing on the plywood floor). On the contrary the improvisation is unique to each canvas. Here it is represented by the black spots (their number, their locations, their intensities ...) but also by how the lines of the floor appear and all the textural effects that the canvas presents. These are born from the moment and without will of control. The structure forms the series and the improvisation makes each painting different.
In my painting practice I always need to feel that the canvas is making itself. The decisions I make must be childishly simple, like choosing a color, a limit or a tool. I let the act of painting bring a complexity made of surprises, chances, errors or inaccuracies that I cannot plan in advance. As if the decisions I made were just a framework for welcoming the unknown.