An Interview with Artist Thierry Guillemin


Into the Mystic
Thierry Guillemin

For his portion of a duo show with Micheline Klagsburn, fellow Studio Gallery artist Thierry Guillemin talks about why the work for this show Something in Common is different from his past pieces. Be sure to stop by and see his energetic paintings, up through June 19th at Studio Gallery.

Q: What's your favorite piece from the show and why?

A: My favorite piece in the show is “Into the Mystic”. I am very much in tune with what it reflects and at the same time it surprises me, which I expect every strong work to do. It is a very interesting synthesis. I made it in a very physical way, and yet it has the serenity of inner silence and the transparency of water. I “action painted” it but many people who see it tell me that it reminds them of Monet. Water lilies? My childhood in little villages of the “France profonde” must be coming back to me, in quite unexpected ways. The title of this work comes from a song of Van Morrison that I love and listened to continuously when I painted this work.

Q: Do you paint intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?

A: I paint intuitively and try to be open to what happens. A plan would interfere with the attention that is needed and would waste precious energy. The quality of the work depends entirely on the quality of my attention. If I am present to my work, the work has a good chance to be alive. If I lose myself in plans, or any other intellectual day dream, life is drained from the painting and it begins to lie, and at some point to die.

Q: Who is your biggest influence and why?

A: I am certainly influenced by many things: lights, perfumes, places, strong emotional moments, people I love, music, poems, personalities, sincerity, honesty, energy. Many great artists, whether writers, painters or musicians have been a strong source of inspiration when I was younger: Nabokov, Matisse, Coltrane, Hendrix, and a very long list of contemporary painters. But a lot is happening now. I keep discovering amazing artists who create now. Gabriela Proksch in Austria, Jean-Francois Provost and Jean-Pierre Lafrance in Canada, Eeva-Leena Airaksinen in Finland are all incredibly strong and original abstract painters who fascinate me.

Q: For this show, did you do anything differently... new techniques, subject matter, palette, etc.?

A: This is a little show with 6 pieces, 4 of them very recent. I let energy flow much more freely than I used to, the paints I use are more fluid “soft-body” type, the colors richer and I use more elements of language, like projections of paint or long black lines. There is a watery quality to my most recent work, more depth and transparencies. These are directions I feel compelled to explore, there is more to find there.

Q: What's your favorite part about being a Studio Gallery member?

A: My favorite parts of being a Studio gallery member are the friendship of many artists, the love and energy Adah Rose gives us all, and the blessing of being part of a group where the main ambition and focus is to make our art grow and develop.

Thanks, Thierry, for sharing insights into your paintings! I look forward to seeing them in person this week.

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