Moirés paintings by Claire Pasquier
moire nom féminin
1. Étoffe à reflet changeant et souvent ondé, obtenue en écrasant le grain des étoffes avec une calandre spéciale. 2. Littéraire. Reflets changeants et chatoyants d’une surface, d’un objet.
moiré noun variants: or moire
1 a. an irregular wavy finish on a fabric. b. a ripple pattern on a stamp.
2. fabric having a wavy watered appearance.
3. an independent usually shimmering pattern seen when two geometrically regular patterns (such as two sets of parallel lines or two halftone screens) are superimposed especially at an acute angle
refuge quest dream
When surrounded by Claire’s latest exhibit, Moiré, I could not help but think about the meaning of the word moiré. As a non-native English speaker, I was actually surprised to find out that the word also belongs to the English language. As you can see above, the word has quite a few definitions in English. When I started comparing the definition of moire/moiré in both French and English, while looking at Claire’s current body of work, I started to think about the connections between each description from the dictionaries to her pieces. One of them in particular resonated with me in a deeper way: “reflets changeants et chatoyants d’une surface, d’un objet,” which would translate to the changing and shimmering reflections of a surface or an object. Yes, the difference between the description in the two languages is subtle; yes, I could be biased by the poetic quality of the French language, but to me, this was the definition that captured the essence of Pasquier’s work. Pasquier was born in the region of Provence in France, she got her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the renowned La Sorbonne and her Master’s Degree from L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where she spent most of her late teens and early twenties. Claire moved to San Francisco in 2006, where she lived with her husband before they returned to France in 2017. Being trained in a classic tradition as a painter, portraits were an intrinsic part of Pasquier’s oeuvre. Even though these are incredibly different when compared to the pieces in Moiré, Pasquier’s conceptual approach is still sound and consistent. Her body of work as a whole reflects on the very definition of moiré, the “changing and shimmering reflection of a surface,” that being of a person, a fleeing memory, a landscape, or a connection.
Pasquier started to develop her moiré style paintings about a decade ago, while still living in San Francisco. Seeing herself in the city where many of the sets from the movies she watched growing up, drew her close to the idea of a TV screen, VHS, and nostalgia— think Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. At the time, when reflecting on this series, she stated, “my work has pushed me to analyze the power of memory of VHS images in relationship to my current life, and also to reflect on the intersection of what I see on the TV and the world around me. Recently, these questions have led me to apply the moiré effect seen in old television screens to reproduce images from my personal life and Californian culture.” One of her first pieces in this style is Static Luke, 2012, seen in this exhibit; made with a palette knife, oil painting on wood board. If you were born before the year 1985, I am sure you can make the connection between this piece and an old TV, the one your family member would pound on in an attempt to make the image clearer. These earlier pieces illustrate Pasquier’s aesthetic transition to the moirés seen in this show, her connection to American pop culture, and her personal experience when living in California. Throughout time, she started experimenting with the elementary characteristics of a painting, such as color, line, shape, and scale. Her pieces started to become more abstract—if the viewers are close to the piece, they will be able to capture the details in the lines and the particular shades of the colors, but when stepping back one can identify a sunset, landscape, or a depiction of a kiss (le Baiser, 2012). In these paintings, such as le Mariage, 2012, Pasquier uses current technology to morph the image into its essence, she then re-interprets the information with projected lines on the surface of the canvas.
By breaking down an image into lines and colors, Pasquier urges one to reflect on the paradox of technology and nature, providing the viewer with a different perspective and a new way of seeing the world around them. Take the time to be surrounded by Claire Pasquier’s moirés, accept her invitation to meditate on everyday life—the beautiful landscapes that surround us, colorful sunsets, memories from the past, and the feeling of belonging.
Vivian Zavataro Reno, Director and Chief Curator of The Lilley Museum of Art, at the University of Nevada, Reno. NV June, 2022
What else? Oh yes, her literature teacher is now the first lady of France and she acted on stage beside Emmanuel Macron.