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Marc-Antoine Goulard -- "Almost Recognizable"

Marc-Antoine Goulard creates wonderfully evocative paintings. At first glance, they are pleasing compositions of color, and totally non-representational.

But as you keep looking, the layers of colors and horizontal flow often suggests landscapes, especially scenes with the blues and green of water.

Yet the scenes remain tantalizing out of reach, "almost recognizable," and still open to individual interpretation.

At a reception at his one-man exhibit this month at the Ruth Morpeth Gallery in Hopewell, New Jersey, Goulard described his working process as starting with the palette of colors -- and an idea of a particular landscape. Yet he does not like to discuss his particular vision of his paintings, preferring (and encouraging) each viewer to find their own image -- or not.

The paintings are so evocative because of the way they are created. Goulard paints on wood panels, a plywood built of layers of birch so they will remain stable over time. He starts by applying a background of white as the base of his canvas, and then begins building up layers of color. -- Lots and lots of layers, building up subtle combinations of translucent shades. He works with painting knives instead of brushes, like a spatula, which works for him as an extension of his hand.

Goulard was actually trained as a concert musician at the Paris Conservatoire, and then took up the saxophone and studied jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But it was in painting that Goulard found a stronger creative voice.

Goulard actually works on five or more paintings at a time, because of the drying time required in the process. His jazz background shows in his work, with light, color, inspiration, and splashes of spontaneity. He still begins with music playing as part of the inspiration as he starts to work on his painting, but it drops away along with other outside distractions as he focuses into his creations.

Image: "Out There," 2007, Paris, 30 x 26 in. (75 x 70 cm )

Marc-Antoine Goulard
New York City and Paris

Ruth Morpeth Gallery
43 West Broad Street
Hopewell, NJ 08525

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