Artist Thierry Guillemin Slips Through Time

Art and the City

91

Art can make time peripheral. We can slip into the space/time continuum when we look and watch because art doesn’t age. Our mind slows and so does time.

For Thierry Guillemin, it’s in the perception of time: “Painting needs me to slow down. Stop. I need to get deep into an impression. When the image lives and connects, it emits light. It is the light that emanates from nature ‒ those things that live and grow and take on unlimited forms and dimensions.”

His recent paintings are a homage to nature. “The recent pandemic slowed us down, and time relaxed,” he says. “It gave nature a chance to breathe and us a chance to breathe with it. “

It’s not merely the appearance of the thing. He connects with something that is felt beyond the form. He also looks closely at the inconspicuous and unremarkable fragments of our civilization: the things all around us. Thierry begins with no plan in mind. No story. “No words.” He lets himself “be available.”

It is not the mere appearances of nature. He wants invention beneath the paint. It is that indefinable something, the vibrations of existence, that he is after.

He has been an abstract painter most of his life. The expression of thought and emotion has always emanated from his work, but now people who have known his abstracts are surprised at the level of detail in his new “figurative” work ‒ mostly nature.

Thierry is from France and he is also paying homage to his grandparents’ farm in eastern France. “As a child I was deeply impressed by this universe where nature was so omnipresent and powerful,” he said. “There was a sense of wonder in everything: a feeling of peace and light. It certainly inspires my work as a painter.”

He is an aerospace engineer by education, a satellite communications executive in the US since 1999. As a painter he has been represented by Studio Gallery in Washington, DC, since 2005. For more information, visit thierryguillemin.com.

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art

You can slow time, our daily hustle time, with art. You need only stand in front of the real thing, the original, and let your mind reach out. Thierry Guillemin says we need to emotionally touch the passionate sensations that emanate. These are the spirits that hover inches from the work. 

Great art has something powerful that just takes off. You can hitch a ride on it but you don’t know why. As Guillemin says, “It is beyond words.” It is beyond any answers or essays you might compose for an art history class. 

You don’t have to be calm or self-possessed or even sane. Actually, that bubbling emotional stew you carry inside you aids in the liftoff. The chances are that the artist was not stone-cold emotionless. They had a raging internal fire. Their passion soars. It is exhilarating ‒ timeless. If you watch and listen, you hear the pleading for a human connection. 

We need to make those timeless connections now, more than ever. The imposed rules of the pandemic forced many into isolation, disconnected from society, except through digital social media, which is often antisocial.

More and more people report symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, because threats to your health and life, together with isolation combined with social division, can create crippling stress levels. 

Some look to self-medication: drugs and alcohol. That only makes it worse. But throughout history, we have found hope and answers in art, whether incorporated into a religion or simply shared with others. It lifts you into that timeless place ‒ to those sensations that hover in the space where spirits dwell.

At the Galleries

Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL)
Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
To Sept. 10

The Capitol Hill Art League Juried Exhibition offers 36 CHAL artists. Their work has been chosen by Hill Center Galleries director Nicky Cymrot and artist Alan Braley. As usual, you will find a wide variety of mediums and viewpoints, and excellence. The entire gallery is both online and in-person.

Jenny Singleton
Touchstone Gallery
901 New York Ave. NW
July 8-31
Reception: Friday, July 8, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“Do It Anyway” is the first solo exhibition by painter Jenny Singleton. Her abstract paintings reflect her “personal vocabulary of calligraphic line and unorthodox color choices, which exemplifies the influence of historic and contemporary Mid-Eastern and Islamic art and calligraphy.” The show’s title derives from Singleton’s customary self-admonishment when facing the challenge to look past fear and self-doubt. www.touchstonegallery.com

“Washington DC Scene”
American Painting Fine Art
5125 MacArthur Blvd. NW #17
To Sept. 25

This is a terrific group show of over 50 works from 22 gallery artists who depict the Washington area with their own unique talents. Choose from a wide range of topics and techniques, including those of the award winners, Jean Schwartz, Leanne Funk and Lynn Mehta. www.classicamericanpainting.com

Studio Gallery

2108 R St. NW
To July 16
Closing reception: July 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.

There are several shows here at the same time.

Chris Corson, “Acceptance ‒ The Good, The Bad, The Human.” These human stories are rooted in shared humanity, told in clay.

Pam Frederick and Veronica Szalus, “Urban Remix.” This is a visual dialog about the urban environment: a fluid, continuously shifting landscape. 

Sally Kauffman, “Avian Apocalypse.” This series of works brings attention to the plight of endangered and extinct species.

Kimberly Bursic, “Unfold/Enfold.” Symbolic language references nature, time and weather. www.studiogallerydc.com

Capitol Hill artist and writer Jim Magner can be reached at [email protected].