From the pattern of brick, a unit tirelessly repeated, Gaël Darras constructs minimalist architectural spaces in watercolor. These constructions do not inhabit, do not penetrate each other: they are walls. They show as much as they conceal, pushing the gaze to seek beyond. Their borders send us back to our privacy, like “inner temples” whose front door is kept secret.
The systematic use of iron oxide as a pigment (the very one that gives brick its red color) deploys a monochrome and contemplative universe where each brick vibrates with a particular density. Gaël uses tools common to the architect and the painter (cavalier perspective, vanishing point, ruler, compass, set square) and is interested in different traditions and techniques of image composition. He draws in particular from the symbolic geometry inherited from the illuminators of the Middle Ages (golden proportions, dynamic rectangles, polygons, etc.) and from the history of frescoes, from the Pompeian villas to the chapels of the Italian primitives.
At different scales of his work, a modular principle is reiterated which proceeds from the fragment and the matrix. The accumulation of bricks draws the shapes, the tight framing alternates with the overviews, the images are cut out and assembled in polyptychs. As if driven by a continuous rewriting of the myth of Babel, Gaël Darras, in a constant repetition of gesture, motif and subject, seems to explore the contours of one and the same imaginary monument.
For his first solo exhibition in a gallery, Gaël Darras has specially produced a new series: “The walls of Babel II”.