The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
– from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," by English poet Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
French artist François Bard’s oeuvre is often described as “epic” or “monumental.” Yet he paints the most ordinary of subjects, transforming them into powerful metaphors of human emotion. Hard to define, he is a conceptual experimentalist disguised as a traditionalist. His paintings invariably elicit more questions than answers. Elusive and multilayered, images of everyday people and places suggest meaning, and hint at the emotional content just beyond our grasp.
Recognized as one of the great French figurative painters working today, Bard was born in Lille, France in 1959. He graduated from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1980, and was selected for a two-year residency at the prestigious Casa Velázquez, Madrid in 1988, before being awarded the Prix Paul Belmondo at Paris’s Salon d’Automne in 1990. From 1990 to 2000, Bard taught as a professor at the Ateliers des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and now divides his time between his Paris studio and his home in Burgundy, southeast of Paris.
Focusing on concepts of social engagement veiled in enigmatic gestures, Bard’s powerful reoccurring motifs and provocative images reference everything from family and friends to Hollywood cinema to trophies of contemporary consumerism. Living in both the city of Paris and the countryside of Burgundy, landscape has informed much of Bard’s work. He initially painted outside using nature as a model. The flat, horizontal landscape of Burgundy with its rolling hills continues to influence the artist’s vision of pictorial space. The world is literally cut in two by the horizon: into sky and land. That duality is present in all aspects of life: day and night, light and shadow, life and death.
Text by Wendy M. Blazier.
Waltman Ortega Fine Art presents a solo exhibition of works by renowned French painter François Bard “The Paths of Glory”. Although Bard’s work was exhibited before at different exhibitions, this is Bard’s first solo exhibition. The exhibition is comprised of Bard’s recent large scale oil on canvas portraits and a number of oil on paper paintings. It opens for the public on February 13, 2016, with a vernissage from 3 p.m. till 7 p.m. at our gallery in Wynwood Arts District, and remains on view through March 31, 2016.