Briefly describe the work you do.
I construct most of my work using over diluted acrylic, ink or watercolor on paper. The surface lies horizontally during the process of painting and drying to avoid the effects of gravity. My entire body, arm, hand and brush flow in a continuous motion to produce my work.
I am inspired by the contradistinctive values of the medium I am using and search for the tension within one color. I strive to create a sense of fluidity and solidity by creating within one image autonomous effects; the directness of my brushstroke against the rushing and gradual fading of the color towards the white of the background.
I seek to express tension in harmony, movement in stillness.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My work is inspired by the opposite values of my subject or by the medium I am using. My childhood triggered physical and emotional experiences with opposing extremes; I grew up in the south of France where there is a strongly pronounced contrast between light and shadow. With a bipolar Mother, I was constantly exposed to the relationship between the polarities within myself and learned to question the authenticity of what appeared as face value and to look beneath the surface.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio practice could be considered traditional in the sense that when I am painting it is a very solitary process. As my final image is the product of one single brushstroke, I need to create a silent space around me, no music, no phone, no interaction. It is essential that I stay fully focused.
Once I have produced my artwork, the documentation — which is as important — differs drastically from the process of painting and reconnects me to the world: bringing my artwork to be photographed, naming it, cataloging with the help of an assistant, and finally using networking to promote it.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Originally, I was only involved and interested in the process of painting and never imagined that my work would evolve into something more dimensional. The further I push the concepts of my vision, the quicker my work develops behind the frame of my artwork. In my last solo show I literally opened the walls of the Gallery to create a sense of depth. I am now able to work with sheetrock and plaster, something I would have never imagined doing.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
Morning is the best time of day for me and especially to work. I like the freshness of the air and the light. I set aside time everyday to work on my artwork — either to research, to promote or document it — and I always set aside time every week to paint.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
My work began as very expressive, and still is but, over time became something much more contained. My focus began to shift to the fluid movement of the brushstroke and the specificity of color, which is what I am continuing to develop today.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Becoming a mother had a strong impact on my work. It also helped me understand and soften my relationship with my mother.
Lately, I have found inspiration from the colors of the Italian Renaissance paintings, as opposed to the painters themselves. This has been especially true as I have become more nuanced in my color palette as my work has evolved.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I have spent over a decade working in fashion and graphic design before dedicating my time to my artwork. But if I were to be anything other than an artist at this point of my life, I would be a chef. There is a similar creative energy between painting and cooking, I would not be a baker — though!
Born in the south of France, Véronique Gambier started to paint on large scale canvases at the age of 12 under the guidance of French Master Pierre Pallut, developing a strong sense of color and abstraction. She attended L’école des Beaux Arts de Toulon (College of Fine Art of Toulon) and L’école des Beaux Art de Luminy (Luminy College of Fine Art) in Marseille.
Always drawn towards texture as well as color, Gambier chose to pursue a career in Fashion which lead her to Paris, London and then New York. After working in Fashion, then as a Graphic Designer, Gambier is now committed on a full time basis to her artwork and has exhibited in the New York area.
Gambier’s creative process is inspired by the contradistinctive values of the medium she is using. She employs a whole-body approach to apply her saturated colors. She moves over and around the square format painting while working with highly diluted acrylic. She strives to create a sense of detachment from her subject, which ultimately leads to a “repossession” through the deconstructing and reconstructing of a painting. She may achieve by cutting and reassembling, for example, or by using four separate paintings to create a single work.
Gambier seeks to express tension rather than harmony, movement rather than stillness. “For me, balancing light and dark is the pure essence of imagery”.
Gambier lives in Brooklyn, NY.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.