Champion Métadier

1947 | Tours, France

French visual artist.

Isabelle Champion Métadier (as know Champion Métadier) made her debut at the beginning of the 1970s with a rigorously abstract pictorial practice. Impervious to any of the movement’s dogmatism, be it gestural, geometric or minimal, she engaged in an exclusive dialogue with the image as pure apparition quite early. Drawing on lessons of experimentation with ingredients and the support of painting as carried out by the Support-Surface group, and sensitive to the advances in repetitive American music (Steve Reich, Philip Glass), she developed the notion of traces in her work, using the repetitive gesture of writing on canvas and paper. However, it was the unexpected, the “accident”, that she was looking for through impressions and sponge permeations, creating situations where it was the material or the matter that decided. She envisioned her practice like an existential confrontation with the painting to be made. Through photography, she enlarged details in a series of tree barks and discovered configurations and visions of matter, both real and unrecognisable, that would determine the later course of her painting.

From then on, she made scathing and amorphous images appear on light and dark monochromatic backgrounds that represent only themselves and do not fit into any other familiar register. Through a compelling physical device of disturbed pigmentary materials, she launched a process on the canvas that gave rise to unpredictable figures, letting the chromatic aggregates settle without any preconceived idea or preliminary image, while keeping control of that conditions of their definitive appearance, if not of the process itself. It was in New York, where shesettled in 1996, that she began the series Entertainment Systems, composed of very large or very small format canvases, in which multicoloured, vivacious and polymorphic ectoplasms as well as quirky, incongruous, stunning and totally ineffable figures evolve in luminous backgrounds. These images, with no identity other than their visual and allusive existence, are a feast for the eyes and unleash the imagination. After returning to France, while continuing to make frequent trips to New York, a city whose frenetic hecticness of shapes and colours inspires her, she has developed this visual language since 2006 with her series Time Trackers. In a sense, I. Champion Métadier perpetuates the classical pictorial tradition, but brings it to the modernity of the liquid screen.

Ann Hindry

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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