The Myth Of The Ultimate Creature, Knokke
Individual exhibition in Knokke
Video "The Myth Of The Ultimate Creature" : Views in the artist's studio and exhibition views in the gallery in Knokke.
Christine Comyn (born in Tielt, Belgium in 1957) has gained international fame because of her innovative approach to painting. From watercolour to “aquacryl” (a mixed technique of watercolour and acrylic painting), her style has always been characterized by bright colours, fleeting touches and transparent materials. Her favourite theme has always been the portrait, not as a representative object but more as a conceptual identity in itself, or as an artistic genre with its own meaning, character and symbolic value.
In 2010, about twenty-five years after her debut as a professional artist, Christine’s career reached a turning point. “Pure” painting was no longer a challenge for someone who had fully mastered all the technical aspects of traditional painting. That is why she started to look for a way to realize portraits that would go beyond the conventional pictorial dimension without turning her back on her favourite medium. It may sound like a paradox, but it did work. She conceived the idea to edit her own painted canvases with digital techniques. The result could then be printed on different kinds of materials, and if necessary, could even be finished off with brush and paint.
The application of this groundbreaking technique resulted in April of 2010 in a series of digital collages dedicated to the controversial figure of Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France. This was followed by a series of original drawings with the significant title “Chameleon”, which involved a constant repetition and adaptation of an identical “model portrait”. Today, still driven by the challenge to push the boundaries of painting, Christine launches a new project where she takes the development of what we would call “conceptual” or even “post-pictorial painting” one step further. The series “The Myth of the Ultimate Creature”, presents a mix of different types of media, painting and digital image editing, a mix of different materials – paper and plexiglass – and an ambivalent visual language – figuration and abstraction.
The concept behind this recent project reflects a striking social phenomenon: how the line between men and women in Western society has become increasingly blurred. Even on a cultural level, this trend of “unisexuality” is growing, for example in the fashion world where the ideal of beauty is gradually moving towards the androgynous type. Following the same line of thought, the portraits from the series “The Myth of the Ultimate Creature” are the result of digitally overlapping different original drawings; the one that prevails over the others will eventually determine the female or male character of the final face. The end results of this hybridisation process are somewhat unearthly “creatures” that remind us of the eternally young demigods from Greek Mythology. These neutral faces printed on paper provide the perfect basis for an extra visual layer: a sheet of transparent plexiglass on which Christine adds abstract motifs by means of “drip painting”.
The interaction between the two materials, paper and plexiglass, and between figuration and abstraction, lends each individual work its own character, or in other words, its own soul.
Diana Gadaldi, art historian.