Across her work, Claire Tabouret has explored the continued life of the figure in painting. Working within a history-spanning style that builds up sweeping compositions atop fluorescent underpainting, the works have frequently presented tableaus lost in time: nomads wandering deserts, children wrestling, lovers locked in embrace. At once gestural and graphic, Tabouret’s style pairs anachronistic impulses to create works that are irreducibly alive, reinvigorating traditions of figurative painting through a distinctly contemporary play of form and color. In their immediacy, the works speak to a renewed power of figurative painting in the 21st century, animated by a uniquely intimate quality.
In her forthcoming exhibition at Night Gallery, Tabouret turns her attention to the people in her own life. While previous series have adapted images from found photographs, creating generalized subjects, these new paintings and works on paper present portraits of individuals whose postures and expressions convey their connections to the artist, echoed by the illustrative flourishes that accentuate those relationships. Indeed, the artist describes the act of painting as an act of care and a moment of profound empathy between artist and subject. Animals appear in many compositions, underscoring the series’ spirit of compassion, relying not on language but on the communicative potential of physicality. Taking up the Impressionists’ interest in daily life, Tabouret finds the romance and tenderness in everyday experience. Meanwhile, the graphic innovations of her works on paper – which hearken in equal parts to turn-of-the century illustration, Japanese woodblock prints, and Pop Art experiments of the 1960s – push the limits of representation, paring down forms and boldly placing muted tones over neons, while remaining tethered to the lived reality from which the works emerge.
A homecoming exhibition for an artist of international renown, The Pull of the Sun is the artist’s testament to painting as a means of exploring one’s own life, collapsing visual histories toward a vibrant and heartfelt portrait of her present.