The young Belgian artist Adele Renault has devoted her entire career to pictorial art, and a part of that devotion will present itself at her upcoming exhibition, at art is just a four letter word Gallery. Since she was born into an artistic family of musicians, Renault was surrounded by different art genres from early childhood, but she has ultimately decided to place her focus on the beauty of everyday life. Her realistic and hyper-realistic portraits of humans and animals show her interest in the hidden beauty, the beauty of truth and imperfection, depicting the world as it is, flawed and fascinating at the same time.
Renault observes the occurrences from everyday life with an inclusive, attentive sentiment, searching for the beauty of character, which always seems to be stronger than the merely visual physical beauty. All of the characters that appear in her paintings show strong emotion and expressive temperament, and although they are depicted in a realistic figurative manner, their essence is shown through their facial expressions, which hint at their unique personalities and thoughts. Renault's works remind us of how each person is different, and that it is exactly the imperfections, the wrinkles and the scars that make our characters worth portraying.
Although quite young, Adele Renault seems to be interested in subjects somewhat untypical for a young person. The latest series, one that will be exhibited on this occasion, features portraits of the native people of Burkina Faso, most of which are old, and yet full of some inexplicable energy. Two years ago, in 2014, Renault made a series similar to this one, portraying the faces of the homeless people, the old folks and pigeons. Admittedly, all of these protagonists are usually the ones that we pay the least attention to, and Renault puts them in the foreground and gives their unique personalities and physical traits a chance to shine.
The natives of Burkina Faso never look directly into the spectator. Their eyes are always pointed at something else, possibly the sun, since the pictures are bright and seem to be overexposed. Each of the portraits is made after the artist's own photographs, and she takes these "photographic errors" into account when making them, deliberately choosing to leave the images just a little bit too bright. The strong contrast gives the images an even more theatrical tone, and it makes all the details even more apparent, and all the facial features equally important. Because of this, the folding wrinkles are as beautiful as the reflection of sunlight in these people's eyes.
Les Hommes Integres (The Genuine People) will be on view from June 4th through July 30th 2016, at art is just a four letter word Gallery. The show is a product of the artist's prolific journey into Burkina Faso in 2015, which inspired her greatly. The opening of the show will take place on June 4th at 7pm, Markt 6, 59494 Soest.
Featured images: Adele Renault, painting. All images courtesy of the gallery and the artist.