Julien Parant-Marquis: Thalassa
7424 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Saturday, May 27 at 5:00 PM 8:00 PM
Ends Jul 1, 2023
Julien Parant-Marquis (b.1996) is a Montréal based artist working predominantly in painting, drawing, and sculpture. This will be his first solo exhibition. Parant-Marquis’ imagery shows intricate scenes that simultaneously suggest aspects of the world represented while remaining firmly abstract. The forms of vines, tendrils, tentacles, caves, leaves, fangs, and bodily orifices are for moments discernible, but quickly fall out of focus. They are what art historian T.J. Clark would call realms of infinite suggestion. Narrative structure is hinted at but ultimately remains impossible to grasp. His practice is the incarnation of his obsession with the visceral experience of painting. As they take shape in his studio it is an intuitive and automatic process. Parant-Marquis’ frequently strives for brushwork that conceals the ways in which the paint was applied, with the goal of further mystifying the nature of his subjects. In an effort to deepen his visual vocabulary, he explores the cumulative effect of inventing his own symbols. They are signs not bound to any actual meanings, yet they give the impression of an unknowable language, information forever concealed. Once these shapes are sketched onto new surfaces as anchor points, he then uses them to organically grow the compositions into larger and more complex materialized forms. This exhibition presents a taught series, titled Thalassa, consisting of five oil paintings and the four deeply connected watercolors that they grew from. These emerged on the open sea in early 2022, when Parant-Marquis was struggling to visually articulate certain new ideas. An extended sailing voyage on the Atlantic Ocean provided the space and separation for a breakthrough. On the boat, he fervently painted a handful of pictures equipped only with a simple traveling watercolor kit. Stacked in a compact folder, he carried them home to Montréal. Some were given away, others recycled as filters for rolled cigarettes. Four of the watercolors established themselves as the starting point for the Thalassa series. He then translated the imagery of each into larger format oil paintings, allowing for improvisation in the process to change them into unique new pieces. The completed works become a call and response to one another, monuments to the process that created them. He holds a BFA in painting and drawing (2021) from Concordia University in Montréal (Tiohtià:ke), Canada. Parant-Marquis’ practice also visits experimental photography and sculpture. He has exhibited work in group shows in Montréal, Vancouver and Upstate New York, at venues including: Tap Artspace, Montréal; Baba Yaga, Hudson, NY; Afternoon Projects, Vancouver; Espace Maurice, Montréal; Gama Gallery, Mexico City.
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