Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York, is delighted to announce its seventh solo exhibition with New Orleans-based artist Nicole Charbonnet. Paint it Black features a series of largely monochromatic paintings in which Charbonnet layers collage, paint, paste, plaster and other materials, in a process that can take years to complete.
Charbonnet continues to explore themes of memory and history through layered paintings based on familiar images. These layers both obscure and highlight the forms in her work, evoking a sense of mystery and discovery, like exploring an archaeological ruin. Previous series have focused on iconic imagery in art and pop culture. In Paint it Black, Charbonnet often uses decorative designs – floral motifs and geometric patterns that might be found in old wallpapers or home décor. Others appear more automatic in nature,capturing the frenetic energy of abstract expressionism within the layers of paint. The central concept to Charbonnet’s work is the way in which memory and familiar images shape what we see, so that each individual sees and interprets the world differently.
These black and gray works reflect on a recent discovery revealing text beneath the layers of paint in Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square. In one work, written text appears, almost illegible. In others, a layer of black paint appears to be cracking, revealing a lighter, fresher color below. The limited, dark palette, and the obscuring of language and truth also reflect Charbonnet’s views on the current political climate in America. Ultimately, however, the works in Paint it Black are a materialization of the silent experiences of perception, cognition and memory.