For her first solo exhibition at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Cindy Phenix is presenting Ces femmes tiennent une fleur à la main, a new series of paintings that are the fruit of a month-long residence at the gallery where Phenix set up her studio and initiated participation/discussion groups from which she drew inspiration.
With Ces femmes tiennent une fleur à la main, Phenix has developed a lexicon of happiness that pays heed to the complexity of the places it flourishes in and the attitudes it gives rise to. Beaches, boulevards, balconies or cabarets, these spaces where it unfolds are both public and private: there where the multitude becomes a crowd, thousands of isles of intimacy emerge. Voluptuousness, contemplation and friendship blossom there, but also along with voyeurism, vanity and envy. True to her forceful and intense aesthetic, Phenix alternates between solitary depictions and choral scenes to give life to an ode to boundless joy.
Cindy Phenix’s work focuses on the relationship between the public and private spheres. She explores the various norms that govern them, the dynamic of their coexistence, the power relations they are the site of and the emotions they trigger. To this end, the artist creates complex scenes that convey powerful narrative and affective movements.
Phenix draws her inspiration from participation/discussion groups that she organizes and leads. Through collaborative projects and shared experiences, these groups aim to raise awareness of feminine experience. At first, the women are led to interact with artworks, to take part in games and to position their bodies in installations created by the artist. They are then invited to share anecdotes and reflections as part of the discussions that Phenix guides. The bodily performances and stories shared in the process serve as fertile analysis ground for the artist who reinterprets them in her compositions.
Cindy Phenix’s paintings generate a palpable formal tension. Some surfaces are made up of gestural and abstract impastos, while others—left untouched—reveal the raw potential of the canvass. Painted zones are juxtaposed with drawn lines and take us into paradoxical spaces. Many characters, depicted in transformed complexions and bodies, interact here. The ambitious and ambiguous displays and the broad spectrum of techniques that Phenix puts to the task give rise to a dazzling emotional charge.