GHOSTS OF ORQUEVAUX
I spent September of 2022 at Chateau Orquevaux, which is two and a half hours south of Paris by train. The Chateau is a large private estate transformed into an International Artist Residency by the owner Ziggy Attias. Myself and fourteen other artists enjoyed the room and board, welcoming staff, private art studios and a month of meditation. The goal of this residency was a finished project shared among us by the end of the stay. I embarked on this journey without any expectations or plans, I honestly just felt anxious about traveling for the first time after the pandemic.
Inspiration struck almost immediately. Once I settled into my studio space at the former stables (remodeled into a decent working space), I went to rummage through some leftover relics in the storage area. A black and white daguerreotype family portrait caught my eye. It seemed authentic, like it belonged. A family of seven, long gone, leaving only ghosts to remain in their place. In that fairy tale French village where the air itself seemed to be thick with memories of others, I kept thinking that all of us, our September crew, might come back as ghosts to that place of sublime happiness at some point. The concept of GHOSTS was born - and now I only needed to find a solution for its execution.
I have been working on the Extinct Series since 2016, a collection of paintings depicting chairs as characters. Each of them is colored with a different mood, shape, emotion and story. Behind their vacancy there is the CHAIRINESS that takes objects back to their archetypes and essence. GHOSTS OF ORQUEVAUX is a collection of "portraits" of my fellow creators from the residency, or rather, my painterly interpretation of their characters. In that time I had gotten to know them (at least superficially) as people and as artists.
Both of these traits were reflected in oil paint. Quite a few of the paintings were my first impressions, while others took time to develop. Behind each painting there is a real person with their name attached. During the time of the residency it became something of a playful game to post an image a day on Instagram with another portrait adding to the mystery of its anticipation. I feel fortunate and honored to have spent a month in the company of such personalities, and if this is any prospect of eternity then it is not half bad.