The Affordable Art Fair in New York City boasts to be the place for collectors and art enthusiasts to discover and purchase quality contemporary art from emerging and mid-level artists. Like any art shown in a group, it is possible to find some excellent galleries showing cutting-edge, progressive art alongside some not so wise choices. In my opinion, the star of AAF NYC 2008 is the young French artist Corinne Dalle Ore.
Photography by Laura M. Kuah
Corinne Dalle Ore (b. 1969, Saint-Tropez) began painting in her hometown at the age of 14. Since then, she has studied art in the United States and at the Académie Charpentier (Paris). The artist then furthered her studies at the prestigious Ateliers de la Grande Chaumière, one of the most famous art schools in Paris. The Salon d’Art et d’Essai in Saint Tropez collaborated with Dalle Ore in 1998, as a part of the “Young Contemporary Artist” exhibition, and enabled her to sell 100+ paintings via auction in cities such as London, New York and Singapore. Dalle Ore is represented by Paris-based art gallery Envie d’Art, “a new generation art gallery” and has also exhibited extensively at various art fairs and galleries in London, Brussels, Glasglow and New York.
Inspired by the events and conditions of everyday existence, Corinne Dalle Ore creates a strong body of visually compelling paintings that are constantly evolving. Her art is centered on themes where body, text and form intertwine to echo a harmonious interpretation of daily living. Dalle Ore’s subject matter ranges from kitchen utensils to symbols of the fashion world, pop culture icons to famous cityscapes. These subjects are then rendered on the canvas alongside her elongated, hand-written typography. Sometimes ambiguous, most other times literal, the artist’s mode of expression is one that communicates directly, without the need for rigid interpretation.
Although Corinne’s oil on canvas works are colorful and strong, it is perhaps her mixed media works that stand out amongst others in her oeuvre. I am particularly fond of the series she painted of famous world cities, such as London, New York and Paris. Here, Corinne builds these large-scale paintings layer-by-layer, using scraps of newspaper until the original canvas (and whatever used to lie underneath) is obscured, changed and replaced. She then paints over the background and sets the stage for image to mingle with text. In London Portobello, 2008 (pictured above), the stylistic elements of this painting (raw “printed” typography, red tulips and the official symbol of London: the double decker bus) are combined to give the viewers an introspective look into the mind of a young French artist’s interpretation of London.
Another favorite subject matter of mine are the pop icons Dalle Ore uses in her work, such as the Frida Kahlo in the mixed media painting Diego Te Adoro, 2008 (pictured below). Here, Frida is seated like a goddess in the center of the canvas, in a cross-legged meditation position. Her hands are folded in her lap and eyes gazing out into space. She is depicted wearing a simple red robe over her more contemporary outfit of a black and white striped shirt under a neon pink jumper, complete with a long gold chain adorned with red and green jewels. Over the strips of newspaper in the background, Dalle Ore has added what appears to be painted, flowery wallpaper (grey and white), continuing her painted tulips motif (now in pink) around Frida. In her famous painted typography, the artist has also written the following message (to Diego Rivera) in Spanish: Diego, I adore you. We will never join ourselves, but always for Mexico. Though many consider this a tribute to the most influential Mexican artists in the history of art, one must also wonder if this painting shadows Corinne Dalle Ore’s own experience with her lover.
As empathetic beings, we feel compelled to make sense of how Corinne expresses her emotions visually. With little pictorial guidance, we make associations to help us better understand the artist and where she is coming from. Corinne does not believe in mass production, and prefers to let each painting speak for itself. She is a contemporary Toulouse-Lautrec, with the playful imagery of Keith Harring and the humor of Andy Warhol. Her work is vibrant, passionate and honest – indeed, great art that allows us to connect with the artist before we have a chance to think about why.
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