capturing the ephemeral

Romain Saintonge

There are fleeting moments in any person’s life, but only few artists manage to signify the ephemeral with such a nerve-tingling poetry as Romain Saintonge.

It can be everything from the raw to the tender. It can be a clear signature of persons standing in a room, whilst at the same time letting them fade away.

The dialogue between art and the subconscience of the viewer

Sometimes, though not always, the artist prefers to start off with black and white photos. These are references in the form of persons whose names are lost in obscurity. It is a deliberate means to an end. Here you have someone who once was – or still is – a living breathing human being. At the same time, you are left with little more that the pure essence of that person. The latter ought not be possible. Indeed it is nonsense to think that anyone could capture what a person really is in just one frame. However, in Saintonge’s work you are left with a convincing illusion of it being true somehow.

A painting is a journey negotiating its own terms

A multitude of painting techniques are being applied to achieve the unique and somewhat hazy expression that resonates with us.

As it just served as a starting point, the aforementioned photo is soon left behind. In this process, Saintonge continues working from intuition. Much is kept to the bare minimum making the hints have so much more depth. The key is to convey the bare essentials of the person being depicted. How exactly this is achieved is dictated much more by the motif than any preconceived notions. In principal every new canvas is being used to test something out layer upon layer.

At some point the painting takes over. The end result is an orchestration of palette knife work, splatters, runny and drippy paint in various directions and turpentine burns. It has everything from the carefully controlled to the acidental.

Emotional impact

There is no narrative, and it is deliberate because it would be a pity for this type of work. It is so much stronger to be left with a person and an emotion being evoked. In many cases art has much more impact when the viewer can project something into the work of art itself.

What you are left with, then, is a split second of someone’s life and part of our human condition

Originating from Pithiviers, Romain continues to live and work in France. He is a prolific painter with a large body of work already mounted in serveral solo and group exhibitions. The artist is also currently represented by two galleries in France: Galerie Eric Dumont, and FAE Gallery.