• Where primary begins ?

  • Presentation

    «I feel through color, it is thus by it that my canva should always be  organized» said Hennri Matisse. Thomas Andréa Barbey is also a  colorist, but he is engaged in modernizing ancient techniques,  especially divisionnism. In front of his work with luminous and  meditative accents, the viewer cannot help but remember the research of  Signac or Seurat. 

    To paint color is to choose to represent a projection of our mind on the  world. Color does not have a time component, it does not define any  particular object. From a scientific point of view, it is only a feeling of light,  captured and analyzed by the eye. It is precisely in this quest of the intan 

    gible and immaterial that Barbey engages himself. His work show color in  its purest form : no use of shade, even if the juxtaposition of colored dots  tries to deceive our eye. French painter Nicolas Poussin used to say «colors  in painting are lures that persuade the eyes, just like verses in poetry». 

    By using a method that crosses Neo-impressionnism with Mec’art, Barbey  assimilates previous artistic techniques with a deep understanding of the  mediums used, in order to offer a modern and unique adaptation. The  colorful dot of the contemporary artist is unified and standardised, he uses  it in an almost mechanical gesture. The image that seems pixelated is  actually the result of a long and meditative work. The meticulousness of  Thomas Andrea Barbey’s work then contrasts with the search of the  representation of a snapshot he looks to offer to the viewer. Each artwork  strikes by its accuracy and sensibility. The painter retains from the  Neo-Impressionists a predominance of instinct over initiative, the  importance of a thorough theoretical reflection on colored reports or even  the importance of the optical mixing that forms on the eye of the spectator  thanks to the divisionnist method. 

    Painter of color, really? We can however summon his monochrome lands capes like his Seas. It should not be forgotten, nonetheless, that Barbey is an  artist in constant research, that never ceases to reformulate his art.

    His different residencies and shows lead him through the world, at the  discovery of the burning sun of Spain or of the rivers and greenery of  Vietnam. Thomas Andrea Barbey says it himself : «My artistic work pursue  this long journey, in a slow exploration of reality, of the world under its geo 

    graphical and contemplative aspect. It is the story of a fictional walk. […] I  spend my time on adventures, walking somewhere between the world as I  see it and the world as I imagine it.» 

    We thus understand how much the romantic ideal that moves Barbey also  influences his work, and allows him to constantly explore new paths. Through  constantly renewed themes, landscape first, but also interiors with windows  or even marines, the french painter offers a solution full of an intriguing 

     ambiguity, thanks to the synthesis of opposite poles : abstraction or figuration  ? Gesture or geometry ? Personnal or universal ? He paradoxically reuses  principles specific to Abstraction like seriality, geometrical reproduction  applied to figurative works. The dot, a pattern that is absolutely geometrical is  likely to be subject to this logic of repetition, according to a mechanical  gesture that evokes the machine. He explains that he looks to evacuate the  «subjective content of a piece in a kind of hypnotism that leads to reverie» 

    This logic of mechanization of the gesture and of the artist himself also evokes  the theories of the Mec’Art that uses photographic processes of report on  various mediums, but the common point of each artwork is that the use of  mechanical techniques of reproduction. The image thus recomposed becomes  autonomos of its form and message. It is finally about the almost  mathematical elaboration of a new synthetic image. Thomas Andrea Barbey  uses similar means. Thereby, it is not uncommon for him to use zoomed and  enlarged photographs in order to reach a complete pixelation. He then focuses  on the images for a long time, meticulously analyze them. He finally proceeds  to paint his subject as he remembers it. Thus, his canvases are not painted on  the motif, but are the culmination of a long reflexive process that allows the  image to acquire this character as precise as it is sensitive.  

    Inès Molière

  • press release (Fr)
  • press release (En)

Nicolas Poussin thought that “colors in painting are lures that persuade the eyes, like the verses of a poem”. Thomas Andréa Barbey also plays with color and uses it to deceive our eyes.

He revisits the divisionist technique of the neo-impressionists, crossed with the theories of Mec’Art to obtain an innovative process. Barbey’s works are the result of a long process of reflection leading to an almost mechanical gesture. Thanks to this process, the colors blend in the eye of the viewer and form a coherent and accurate whole, which strikes by its sensitivity and its freshness. Through constantly renewed themes – landscapes, interiors, seascapes – the French painter takes us on a journey into his own world, which is both the one he observes and the one he imagines. He says it himself “I try to evacuate the subjective content of the work in a kind of hypnotism that leads to reverie”.

Thomas Andréa Barbey, Rivage 2 Novembre, 2021, Gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, 100 x 70 cm.
Exhibition view
Exhibition view, Where primary begins ?, artworks from Thomas Andréa Barbey.
Thomas Andréa Barbey, “13 décembre”, 2021, gouache on paper, 65 x 50 cm (UNAVAILABLE)
Thomas Andréa Barbey, Intérieur, 27 avril 2022, mixed techniques on paper, 78 x 70 cm.
Thomas Andréa Barbey, Intérieur Rouen 05 janvier, 2022, Acrylic and gouache on paper mounted on canvas, 92 x 65 cm.
Thomas Andréa Barbey, « 29 décembre », 2021, Tempera sur toile, 55 x 37 cm.
Thomas Andréa Barbey, Printemps, 2022, mixed techniques on canvas, 69 x 49 cm.