Bernadet’s paintings present mark making as a layered language and a process of active contemplation. He describes a process of infinite gesture where every mark is engaged in a moment of call and response and ideas of total completion are impossible.
Exhibited together the paintings suggest an almost fluid continuum. Though they may appear inextricably connected, the energetic sea of gestures that fill each individual painting also reveal a more localized conference of mark making. Each piece is an individual exploration of the potential inherent in Bernadet’s definitively free design. These works are not trapped within an overly formalized language, nor are they completely loose; there is structure, interconnectedness, and communication. It is these conditions that create a focus for meaning as well as allowing for greater and more detailed level of freedom.
In French “fugue” is a noun, not a verb, meaning running away (Je veux fuguer: I want to run away). The paintings are definitely the result of action: to paint, to contemplate, to experiment, to layer, to respond, but when finished, they become nouns, things. As “things” they are not concretely abstract, nor are they figurative. Like language they sit in a space in between; they are individual objects filled with a vibrant and restless energy. This does not mean they are agitated per se, but that they are unwilling to settle. They are unable to stop. The paintings are not of course running away, they are instead moving towards something. That something is defined purely in the process of their making. Viewing them allows a symphony of glimpses to occur: moments seized by other moments, gestures disclosing other gestures, and marks illuminating other marks. Each brushstroke is active and still energized, combining to create a constant and defining breeze of animation across the surface of each painting. In this way, they are not silent, they are words annunciated.
Jean-Baptiste Bernadet was born in Paris in 1978. He has lived and worked in Brussels since 2000, and was artist-in-residence at Triangle Studios in Brooklyn in 2012, APT Studios in Brooklyn in 2011, and Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, in 2010. His recent exhibitions include: Karma, New York NY, Valentin, Paris, Ricou Gallery, Brussels, Casado Santapau Gallery, Madrid, Marfa Book Company Gallery, Marfa, Texas, TORRI, Paris, and Galerie Saks, Geneva. Bernadet participated in the Young Belgian Art Prize, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Brussels. (All 2013)