DREAMSCAPES OF A WORLD CONTAINED
The work of Philippe Charles Jacquet is often described as dreamlike or imaginary. There are also those who have pigeonholed the paintings as mere landscape. I endeavor to describe them as something more. The work of an arts writer, or even an art lover viewing various works, depends on seeing — indeed feeling — what moves you in a particular piece. Perhaps it is the palette, the line, the composition or the content. Seeing art, really seeing it, requires reflective time and often outside-the-box thinking.
Jacquet’s work indeed reminds me of places I’ve seen in my dreams. The artist, in fact, describes his work in such terms. Here are vistas with blue-green pools of water and reflective rivers, rounded rocks, jagged cliffs and boats set in unusual or peculiar positions. These are surreal environments, which in Jacquet’s works contain solid architectonic buildings grounded in the earth of the painting plane.
Unlike a dream, Jacquet’s work invites us to a not-necessarily fleeting moment, but to a moment solidly set in time — a captured moment where we can take our leisure and explore the view in all its glorious detail. But these works are so much more than landscapes. So much more than dream vistas. They are worlds.
Entirely a self-taught painter, Jacquet’s technique is as unique as his images. Working in gloss paint, an industrial medium, he begins by painting plywood surfaces with a base of off-white color. The medium creates a smooth surface, allowing the artist to build up several transparent layers while in other areas of the painting he builds upon textures. His skylines, huge and encompassing half to three-quarters of the work, are often subdued in soft touches of pale blues and lavenders, and yet there are also brilliant patches of light, shining through to provide deep shadows and picture-perfect reflections on the water. Each area of a composition is approached differently, as he sometimes utilizes a razor blade to scratch away surface areas.