Simard Bilodeau Contemporary is proud to present Introspective, the debut solo exhibition of Franco-American sculptor Emmanuel Fillion (b.1966).

This exhibition is a departure from his baroque influences, as the artist embraces more emotional, contemporary themes of environmental destruction (particularly the Woolsey fire in Malibu, CA 2018), and the subsequent need for affected people and communities to rely on each other, embrace change, and rise again like a phoenix from the literal and metaphorical ashes.

The focus on rebirth as a subject matter or motif came as a synchronous surprise to Fillion. Just before the Woolsey fire, which ravaged nearly 100,000 acres of land, Fillion, who has previously resided in Malibu, sculpted a charred tree stump with a golden center, as a reminder of the cycle, and emergence, of life. Post-fire, the new collection of work came together, as Fillion meditated on the spirit of the phoenix rising as it relates to the dissolution of relationships, environment destruction, and the growth after personal pain and struggle.

Speaking about a walk through the forest in Yosemite in an interview with the Malibu Times, the artist recounted, “We walked through miles of burned forest, but under all the burnt rubble, we could see flowers and real trees with leaves reshooting. It was a great metaphor for life. You go through pain, but it gives you a chance to grow back from your ashes. Like a phoenix.” Introspective, a collection of 16 marble and bronze sculptures in black and white, was created in the artist’s studio in Pietrasanta, Italy, the mecca of marble sculpting since the times of Michelangelo, who was the first artist to recognize the value and beauty of the local stone.