by Nathalie Azoulai
When contemporary painters work in a very figurative way, we always suspect them of old schoolness and lack of modernity. As if too much figuration could threaten the core of creation . But luckily, some painters resist both the threat and the suspicion. Young French artist Gregory Derenne is one of them.
Born in 1978, he paints churches interiors, TV sets, backstages, escalators and showcases. He likes to play with light reflections especially when it's all neon and sunlights, making them come out of dark black canvases in a photographic way. He belongs to his time though there might be a touch of Pieter de Hooch or Edward Hopper in his work because of the strange stillness. Watch his churches carefully: they're neither 17th nor even 20th century. They're absolutely 21st because of the signs and scaffolds surrounding the pulpits and naves.
But let alone his undeniable talent, Gregory Derenne should pay attention to what might be perceived as a pictural device...