A collection of highly recognizable characters populates Christian Charrière’s paintings. Screen stars and rock icons are depicted with all the detail a portrait photographer would give them.
The artist’s skill at capturing the personality of his subjects gives each image an echo of the familiar, while his subtle color palette and varied textures lift them beyond duplication. His subjects have a quality of simultaneously posing and being caught unaware, giving his paintings an immediacy that is tempered by a strong sense of formal composition. Working in oils on canvas, Charrière employs a palette dominated by greys. “I strongly control grey colors,” the artist says, and in his work they take on a degree of variety matching that of paintings that use a far broader spectrum of colors. Equally impressive is the way in which he handles light. From cigarette smoke to reflections in a pair of eyeglasses, the varied qualities of light and how they animate faces 11and the spaces around them result in paintings that bring those faces alive while placing them firmly in the artist’s personal world.