“Art makes me live, quite simply, it nourishes life and is nourished by it. It intensifies life.”
The Spark of Inspiration: Philippe Lamy’s Muse
Philippe Lamy, born in Morocco, spent his formative years by the Atlantic Ocean. This rich environment, with its vivid colors, scents, and unique atmospheres, left an indelible impression on him. He found joy exploring the beach, from the intricate rock formations and aquatic life to the rhythmic sound of waves and the enchanting contrasts between underwater and terrestrial worlds. Additionally, Lamy was deeply influenced by his grandfather’s vibrant garden and the bustling market of Casablanca’s Medina, where he accompanied his father. The silent, paint-splattered chaos of his brother’s workshop further shaped his artistic sensibilities. These diverse experiences continue to permeate his work, and he often returns to the beach to rekindle those cherished emotions.
Lamy pursued his artistic education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, where he specialized in painting. Upon graduation, he was compelled to seek additional employment to support himself financially. Consequently, he began teaching in various institutions, including the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulon and the National School of Architecture in Toulouse. Over the years, he derived immense satisfaction from his teaching career, gaining knowledge, valuable experiences, and fostering meaningful connections.
Like many artists, Lamy faced the challenge of balancing his personal creative endeavors with his social and professional responsibilities. His teaching career forced him to carefully allocate his time between instruction and artistic pursuits. Now retired, Lamy can fully dedicate himself to his craft and focus on promoting his work.
In addition to his visual art, Lamy engages in musical activities, composing electro-acoustic pieces and improvising with fellow musicians. Music plays a significant role in his life, accompanying and nourishing his painting process. Indeed, the terminology he frequently employs to discuss his art—rhythm, texture, resonance, vibration—reflects this deep connection between the two disciplines.
Crafting Masterpieces: Philippe Lamy Creative Process
Philippe Lamy’s artistic oeuvre encompasses various forms, materials, and supports, yet consistently reflects his core concerns: the passage of time, rhythm and duration, chromatic density, the interplay between surface and appearance, and the primacy of color-to-texture ratios, as well as an innate “musicality.” In his spatial explorations, Lamy manipulates scale ratios, juxtaposing near and far, shifting between horizontality and verticality, and examining notions of aerial perspective and frontality.
Over the years, Lamy’s painting has evolved, transitioning from overtly figurative subjects to ostensibly more “abstract” elements, without following a strict, chronological trajectory. For Lamy, distinguishing between ‘abstraction’ and ‘figuration’ is futile, as his work remains inextricably linked to the world, drawing inspiration from its landscapes, objects, and phenomena. Even in his most abstract pieces, an underlying landscape or worldly element is always present.
Initially, Lamy approached color with trepidation and suspicion. However, he gradually embraced a vibrant chromatic palette, immersing himself in the hues and shades that now define his work.
Lamy frequently works on multiple series concurrently, which sometimes complement and engage with one another in a dialogue. These series address similar pictorial questions through diverse approaches, examining distinct relationships to duration and gravity. Slow-paced vertical series may be juxtaposed with fast-paced horizontal counterparts.
The artist strives to capture the delicate moment when, through countless layers, accidents, regrets, failures, and decisions or indecisions, a robust yet fragile presence emerges. This process also allows him to grapple with the question of when a painting is considered finished, acknowledging that it is never truly complete.
Lamy believes that a certain amount of time must elapse between encountering a location and conveying the emotions it evokes, allowing for the distillation of experience and the preservation of the essential. Thus, the contemplation of the world and the passage of time fuel his work.
In addition to painting, Lamy has always been a prolific, almost obsessive, draftsman. His drawings have evolved into a body of work in which force lines captured in landscapes, skin, shells, minerals, and plants give rise to networks of vibrant structures and musical spaces, seamlessly connecting to his broader pictorial concerns.
The Power of Innovation: Philippe Lamy Artistic Vision
The studio for Philippe Lamy serves as a nexus for creative experimentation and observation, where paintings in progress engage in an intricate dialogue. In this space, Lamy revels in the chaotic environment that fosters his artistic expression. Paint permeates every surface, characterized by stains, streaks, and runs, allowing the artist to fully immerse himself in color. Lamy often derives inspiration from the serendipitous accidents and phenomena that arise amidst the disarray.
Upon entering the studio, Lamy experiences a profound sensation of stepping into the very essence of painting, as if entering a realm entirely dedicated to the art form. To enhance his creative atmosphere, the artist often listens to music, facilitating a sense of detachment from the outside world and cultivating a conducive work environment.
While Lamy dreams of a larger studio that would allow for better organization and separation of his works, his current space has developed its own unique charm and identity over the years. The gradual accumulation of layers reflects the passage of time and the artist’s evolving relationship with his workspace, ultimately nurturing the emergence of his art.
Lamy’s work is enriched by the influence of myriad artists from diverse periods and backgrounds. Chinese landscape painting, Cézanne, Morandi, Monet, and Rothko are among the many creative forces that have informed different stages of his artistic journey. He finds inspiration in the world around him, drawing from memories, sensations, and evocations.
Subtle phenomena such as a reflection, shifting light, dancing dust particles, distant sounds, murmurs, footprints, or the interplay of water, as well as the power of literature, poetry, and music, serve as vital catalysts for Lamy’s creativity. These elements resonate deeply within him, awakening a response that his paintings strive to convey. Through his art, Lamy continuously refines and enriches his connection to the world.
A Lasting Legacy: The Impact of Lamy’s Work
Over the past several years, Philippe Lamy has been diligently developing an exquisite series of paintings, each measuring 146 x 114 cm. Employing a unique technique, the artist combines pigments with acrylic binders and water, creating highly diluted mixtures. Utilizing a broad brush, Lamy carefully applies these mixtures in sweeping strokes from top to bottom, left to right, allowing the paint to flow naturally and the pigments to adhere to the canvas’s fabric. Gradually, this process results in the emergence of a rich texture, characterized by a vibrant interplay of color density, liquidity, weight, and drying time. In some instances, the texture of a single painting may boast an impressive depth, encompassing over 300 individual layers.
The heterogeneous distribution of differently colored layers imbues the paintings with a sense of depth and textural variation, reminiscent of the intricate patterns found in natural landscapes, minerals, and shells. This captivating visual effect is born from the persistence and dedication Lamy exhibits in his artistic practice. Each piece may require months or even years to complete, ultimately culminating in a work of art that possesses a potent yet subtle presence.
Lamy envisions his viewers engaging in a personal, temporal experience with his paintings, inviting them to explore the layers and strata that compose the works. In this way, the artist seeks to create living spaces, evocative of both mineral and liquid elements in motion, that spark reminiscences and provide an immersive experience.
The vibrant colors and striking presence of Lamy’s paintings serve as an affirmation of the medium’s ability to create both “presence” and “space,” amplifying the significance of the viewer’s experience. For Lamy, painting is a means of bestowing depth upon time and intensifying life itself, as he believes that art is nourished by life and reciprocally nourishes it in return.
Having devoted years to his craft and amassed a considerable portfolio, Lamy now aspires to achieve wider recognition and display his paintings in exhibition spaces that offer greater visibility for his work. Moreover, the artist recognizes the potential for personal growth and inspiration through participating in an artist residency, which would provide optimal working conditions and expose him to new contexts beyond his own studio.