Le réel nous attire puis nous écrase. Autour de nous la matière se métamorphose sans cesse, impossible à saisir. Se présentant à nous sous l'aspect d'éléments toujours changeants, il s'agit de ruser avec elle, de proposer un ordre différent si on veut percer son énigme. L'image arrêtée, figée qui est le résultat d'un travail laborieux et fini du peintre ne m'intéresse pas. Je préfère lui opposer ce brouillard qui renaît sans cesse de la matière peinte et d'où surgira quelque fantôme. Sur la toile, les ombres ont plus de force que les objets; l'espace est mieux exprimé par le vide. Et tandis que les murs et les visages s'effacent, la peinture tente de nous les faire toucher pour la première fois...
Philippe Vasseur was born in Lisieux, France in November 1954. The son of a woodworker, his father’s artistry served as his earliest inspiration. It made an indelible impression on the mind of a young man who realized early in life that even his purposes could, one day, manifest through the work of his own hands.
At eighteen, Vasseur left Lisieux for London to enroll in the London Academy of Drawing. A year later, the prestigious Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris admitted him and he studied drawing and art history. His work received almost immediate recognition. Even while in school, his drawings were exhibited in Paris’ galleries; and in 1976, Gallimard, publisher of classical literature by such authors as William Styron and Truman Capote, placed the twenty-one year-old visionary on the map by attracting millions of readers with Vasseur’s engaging jacket covers.
In the following years, Vasseur felt the desire to paint. He moved to Normandy in 1983, where he studied traditional landscapes and frequented museums to observe impressionism. Within three years, he would enjoy his first sell out exhibition of paintings. He subsequently returned to Paris and lived at the Cité des Arts, an artist’s community, where his prominently displayed oils received great attention in a significant number of shows. Since 1990, several distinguished Parisian galleries have shown his oils and now vie to play host to Vasseur’s intriguing works. Public interest has likewise grown to such an extent that whether in Paris or New York, not a single canvas signed by Vasseur survives on gallery walls.
Unparalleled, the appeal of this artist’s work bears definition. Vasseur is more than an academic classicist. His years of study are evident in his work, but something far more ethereal is at play. With his classical training serving as framework, Vasseur opens a world of possibilities in each canvas. Vasseur explores time, the great condition of human existence, while one finds oneself enthralled in the beauty of what is ambiguous yet defiantly specific. The stories in Vasseur’s paintings may change from day to day, yet one cannot help but sense that a greater story has been in place from the very beginning. Without question, it is the recognition of this delightful dichotomy that continues to push Vasseur into the spotlight.
Préface ( Cataloge d'exposition: Galerie Axelle Fine Arts, New-York )