In 1962, at age six, I survived the bombing of our Paris apartment by a terrorist group during the end of the Algerian War of Independence. Perhaps because of that experience, I have kept a childlike enthusiasm to play with shapes and colors.
The concreteness of abstraction, its markings, staining, brushstrokes, and building of layers, became a process of affirmation for me. I overcame the threat to my body and my life to eventually express my inherent joy and lust for life.
This lust for life transcends the human body, and challenges boundaries between genders, human and non-human, body and landscape. With humor, visual puns, evocations of organisms, and of internal and external body parts, I create poetics of biology. The intuitive process of discovery that characterizes my paintings, make them reminiscent of Post WWII American artworks created by artists born at the turn of the twentieth century, notably Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning.
Recently, during the course of my MFA program, my painting as a woman and feminist in the abstract expressionist style was questioned. Emblematic of white American male heroism, abstract expressionism seems problematic within the zeitgeist of the twenty-first century. During my youth, the message was that I could not be a painter, because I am female. Continuing into the 1970s, the predominantly held view was the Freudian notion that only men were endowed with a creative drive.
After I moved to the States in 1986, I continued painting until 1990. A shift occurred in the 90s. My role models moved from Matisse and Picasso to French Feminist artist Nikki de Saint-Phalle. Until the birth of my second child, in 1998, I created papier maché masks and sculptures in bright colors that challenged (mostly) Western patriarchal myths. My world was populated with vulnerable medusas, women who changed into trees while giving birth, and ancient Egyptian Cat Goddesses.
Between motherhood, economic uncertainty and past trauma, I gave up on my dreams of an artistic career. I recently fully reemerged as a painter upon obtaining my MFA from the Institute of Art and Design at New England College (formerly NHIA) in January 2020. Blessed by sheltering circumstances during COVID-19, I was able to further explore my artistic practice. Feminist and queer artists like Mira Shor and especially Carrie Moyer gave me the motivation to tackle painting as a woman. My very recent Covid dolls refer to Louise Bourgeois’ femmes-maisons, as well as to Sheila Peppe’s crochet sculptures.
One of my paintings was selected for the Winter 2020/21 Exhibition at The Yard, in New York City. I had a solo exhibition at Starfire Yoga studios in Hooksett, New Hampshire in May 2021, and received an honorable mention in the SeeMe competition for their upcoming exhibition Nature/Nurture. My short story “Embruns” was recently published in the Atherton Review 106.
I currently have work in the Alumni Exhibit at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College-IAD, in Manchester and Henniker, NH September 2-October 3, 2021. I will also be participating in the Allston Open Studios on October 16-17, from 12 – 6pm (119 Braintree Street, Allston, suite 508.)
I am a former trustee of Arlington’s Dallin Museum, and I currently volunteer there as a docent, offering tours in French and English.
As a mature bicultural artist working with different media, as well as a writer, I navigate my shifting identities in a changing world. My art is my compass.