Abstract painting can thrust us into the unknown, immersing us in the midst of liminal visual and emotional experiences, without fixed name or context. This kind of art is full of risk andunexpected reward, asking of the viewer to take a fraught journey right along with the artist.
Anne Marchand’s paintings transport us into virtual worlds that form themselves before our eyes. She presents visions of a reality that are alive with shifting space, moving color, and animated lines. These phenomena are embodied in the material reality of paint, along with a range of materials embedded in the work’s surface.
In Marchand’s work over the past ten years, the emotional range, poetic import, and inner structures have evolved significantly. What remains consistent is this artist’s pursuit of a quality of mystery and sensuousness in ever-changing scenarios of transformation.
A decade ago, Marchand’s work was strongly inflected by emphatic gestures, implying cosmic horizons and elliptical orbits. In the past five years, the paintings have developed with a great sense of expressive freedom and formal invention. Arcing lines of energy and an underlying sense of geometry are now constantly being interrupted by new, intervening passages of color and form.
For Marchand, the imaginal domains that she creates are made of disparate impulses, which together realize a new, exuberant experience. As in a dream, one sequence can overtake the previous one, with hints of imagery and directional signs persistently making themselves known. We can think of these paintings as evocations of the artist’s consciousness, infused with the physicality of the body, the call of memory, and the sensation of color.
In recent works, paint appears in thick swaths, thin veils, rivulets, and in flows of enamel, ink, and acrylic. The interacting of differing viscosities forms liquid fields, reminiscent of weather systems and of biological growth. Marchand allows the poetic association in her paintings to arise naturally from the transit between above and below, the winding path, and the dissolving structure. There are the smaller incidents of patterned fabric, glass beads, along with stenciled words and diagrammatic images. And enlivening everything is color, emerging in multifarious ways: like a blush in a cloud, a tint in water, a harmonic chord, or a glowing fire.
John Mendelsohn is a painter based in New York who has written articles and reviews on contemporary art for Sculpture Magazine, artcritical, dArt International, artnet, Cover Magazine, and The Jewish Quarterly Review (London), He teaches in the Studio Art Program at Fairfield University.