CHRISTOPHER LE BRUN

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  • The Poet Architect 2016
    oil on canvas
    230 x 280 cm
  • Vocative, 2016
    oil on canvas
    160 x 110 cm
  • Composer, 2016
    oil on canvas
    130 x 160 cm
  • ‘One of the contrasts of my work is this tension of revealing and covering. That can be just as potent psychologically as any narrative. What goes on in the overall project is this continuous debate, or dialogue, internally as to what painting can be’.
    (Christopher Le Brun, in ‘Mark Francis: Interview with Christopher Le Brun’, Fig-1, 50 projects in 50 weeks, 2000)
  • The Trial, 2011-2014
    oil on canvas
    240 x 170 cm
  • ‘The first impressions conveyed by the thirty-three paintings that Christopher Le Brun has completed since January 2013 are seductive. Visiting Le Brun’s studio in Camberwell, South London, on a sunny spring day this year, one immediately felt awash in swell tides of radiant color. The refulgence reached from blazing reds and oranges, through opalescent peach tones, to glacial blues and creamy whites. In short, an abstract luxe, calme et volupté, with perhaps an almost pastoral note somewhere in the mix—a nod, say, to the ripe, sun-saturated meditations on light and landscape found in Samuel Palmer, J.M.W. Turner and Claude Monet’s late Nymphéas. Distant echoes of American Abstract Expressionism and its progeny also lingered—among them, Mark Rothko’s floating expanses, maybe Milton Resnick’s denser painterly effects and doubtless Joan Mitchell’s dappled brushmarks.’
    (David Anfam, in ‘Christopher Le Brun, New Paintings’, Ridinghouse, 2014)
  • Painting as Sunrise, 2013
    oil on canvas
    284 x 269 cm
  • In some ways, Le Brun seems to have been feeling his way towards the sort of visual half-world suggested by the music of Parsifal: the recent commission to create for an opera-loving patron a group of paintings inspired by Wagner’s Ring must have been welcome, if daunting. If we accept that Le Brun’s paintings have never been literary in effect, that he paints always the image behind the words as surely as Munch or Ensor, and that his often hallucinatory images have an alluring physicality only in terms of paint, colour and brushwork, there is also in many of the larger paintings a sense of ceremonial, almost of ritual. An event or presence is half enmeshed in the time-flux through the physicality of handling, and half detached from it or elevated above actuality through the massive simplifications of placement and emphatic structure. Le Brun’s habitual composition is essentially a solemn, presentational isolation of the dominant form, crescendo of light, or object, like a visitation or a mirage shimmering in light and space.
    (Bryan Robertson, 'Christopher Le Brun, Paintings 1991-1994', Marlborough Fine Art, 1994)
  • The Rhine, 1993-1994
    oil on canvas
    250 x 376 cm
  • From the outset, the source of Christopher Le Brun’s attachment to painting was his passion, his clear-sighted longing for the ‘ideal picture’... I think it is important to understand that it was not the mythological motifs themselves that interested Le Brun - literariness leads away from painting - but that, from a given moment on, these motifs constituted the concrete basis on which his painting could be carried forward.
    (Jean-Christophe Ammann, Christopher Le Brun Paintings 1984-1985 , The Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh, Arnolfini Bristol, Kunsthalle Basel, 1985-1986)
  • The Sense of Sight, 1986
    oil on canvas
    197 x 193 cm
  • Le Brun’s revival of the sense of the hidden, in a world that wants to expose everything, goes against the social grain. Le Brun manages to mystify and interiorize despite the demand for things to be demystified, debunked, and turned inside out. These works have the soft light of inner sensuality, the oddly quiet clarity of a self-assured je ne sais quoi. Le Brun is the Watteau of the new expressionism, or shall we call it the New Lyricism, that aims in Nietzsche’s words, to make “iron, leaden life…lose its gravity through golden, tender, oil-smooth melodies.” Le Brun’s gesture liberates his objects from their melancholy heaviness, making them the perfect hiding place for our own gravity and melancholy.
    (Donald Kuspit, “Christopher Le Brun.” in Artforum, vol.c XXVII, no. 1, September, 1988)
  • Throne, 1982
    oil on canvas
    238 x 205 cm
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