The Edge of Reality: Magical Dreamscapes by Eric Roux-Fontaine
There is something mesmerizing about Eric Roux-Fontaine’s whimsical paintings, almost like they act as a portal to the colorful days of surreal circuses or a window into our dreams.
Enchanted worlds blossom in a show of thick paint strokes, ethereal glows, and unusual subjects – in one piece, a tightrope walker balances above a lush forest, while in another serene figures seem to dance across a vibrant moonscape. Eric Roux-Fontaine uses layers of color and texture to build up unknown worlds that viewers can dive right into. By combining elements of the surreal and the realistic, he manages to create entire universes that are both familiar to our everyday worlds and entirely alien.
The effect is a slightly hazy series of work that reflects the fantastical style of a double exposed photograph. But it is the ever-present notion of whimsy that turns Roux-Fontaine’s work from simple landscape pieces to something else entirely – whether it is by inserting vintage carnival rides in the sky or wrapping structures with overgrown wildlife.
“At no time am I trying to depict a place in a literal way,” Eric Roux-Fontaine says, instead he focuses on the memory or the feeling invoked when we visit a place.
He is inspired heavily by his travels, pinpointing destinations like Central America, India, and Eastern Europe as regular subjects in his paintings. Though he sketches out the flora and fauna from these places as a backdrop for his subjects, it is the thoughts, memories, and feelings behind them that really drive his work. “What is interesting are the traces left of all this,” he says. “In fact, each country, each trip, each encounter forms some kind of strata in the memory. On the outside, the skin keeps traces of all its experiences, and it is the same on the inside.”
Roux-Fontaine goes on to say that he uses this “silence” as a starting point for his paintings; the point where the outside world comes in to meet the mind and its memories.
From their, he works with an “initial impulse, which comes unexpectedly.” He quickly sketches this down before taking the idea to his workshop and making a casting selection, much like the director of a film would. Roux-Fontaine uses lots of depictions of people in his work, and this is an entirely conscious decision. “People depicted in paintings are more like actors,” he says. “They appear in a scene, then it is up to everyone to put together the movie.”
He goes on to add that artists don’t necessarily paint “a man”, but they render an interpretation of this man instead. This is where the audience can begin to relate to each piece; where the dream worlds created become something personal that might pull at their memories.
And when it comes to actually finishing the pieces, does Eric Roux-Fontaine have a system? Absolutely not. “One shouldn’t try to control the execution too much,” he says. “Mistakes often end up as new solutions that one couldn’t foresee in the beginning.”
Enjoy the track “Artist Dinner & Sparkling Wine” by Varg while viewing the additional works below.
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