This May, Bertrand Delacroix Gallery will host “Contre-Nuit” (against the dark), a solo exhibition of new large-scale works by legendary French artist François Bard. Surprising perspectives, bold brushstrokes and unique textures distinguish Bard’s cinematic oil paintings. Contre-Nuit, Bard’s third solo exhibition at BDG, follows Big Guns (2010) and Not Guilty (2012), two markedly successful and memorable exhibitions.
Bard states, “the role of the contemporary artist should be to incite people to see differently.” His work does exactly that. Bard’s dynamic canvases depict an impressive array of content, from people, dogs and flowers to cars and urban landscapes. In each one, he puts an unusual and provocative spin on ordinary subjects. He often presents everyday objects, such as a worn shoe or tensed hand, as enlarged and unexpectedly cropped; this effect creates extremely realistic and powerful close-ups that resemble stills from a film.
Bard often begins his artistic process by taking photographs of himself in poses inspired by images in the media. In fact, many of his paintings are self-portraits. While his aesthetic is decidedly modern, Bard’s technique dates back to the classical tradition of layering of oil paint with visible impasto marks and varnish. The resulting pieces are incredibly textured, atmospheric and emotionally charged.
Born in France in 1959, Bard attended the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and was selected for a two-year residency at the Casa Velázquez in 1988. He taught as a professor at the Ateliers des Beaux-Arts in Paris for 10 years. Bard’s work has been featured in major international art fairs, including Art Miami, the London Art Fair, Art Paris, FORM London, Art Gent and Art Karlsruhe, and hangs in prestigious public and private collections around the world, including those of Ralph Lauren, Kit Kemp, Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr. and Arkansas Arts Center. Bard divides his time between his Paris studio and his home in Burgundy.