DARING, experimental, and individualistic.

These three words best describe the works of six French painters-Valerie Fav, Philippe Cognee, Jerome François, Philippe Perrot, Didier Dessus, and Françoise Petrovich-featured in the exhibit Peinture [figures] Peinture at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

The exhibit emphasizes the genre of “la figure” or illustration, which regards painting as the sole purpose and paramount goal of the artist. It values painting as the medium that creates meaningful and lasting impact through creative combination of colors with images and highlights with shadows.

Fav’s “The Sick Sisters” (oil on canvas) series are very wild and imaginative. The paintings show distorted faces of women and superimposed on abstract images. The light and artistic blending of pastel colors contrast with the creepy and irregular image of the subject. Fav’s “Interior 29” (oil on canvas) clearly shows her ingenuity in mixing colors, creating harmony observable in the refreshing background.

Portraits with his friends are the subject of Cognee’s paintings. The images appear disfigured and blurred because of the wax used. Cognee used the colors brown and blue to make the portrayal full of life.

François’ works, meanwhile, are photograph-like images noted for their sharpness and exactness. His “Cinematographic Paintings” (oil on canvas) breathe life and can be hardly distinguished from a real photograph.

Style and taste permeates his “Class Anamorphosis” series where he presents the images stretched and distorted, similar to an image viewed in a convex mirror.

Perrot’s paintings are highly comical, to the point of appearing bizarre. He used unrelated images and striking colors, such as dark pink. In his “Father,” “Aubergine,” “Turnip,” “Carrot” (oil on canvas) he painted vegetables with funny faces and a horse protruding in a man’s body.

Pepe's mistaken identity

Meanwhile, “Untitled: An Ensemble of 100 Little Paintings” (oil on canvas glued on wood) by Dessus depicts man in different forms-carrying a sword or gun, and doing archery or karate. His work transcends nationality and cultural differences, which can be seen in his Japanese, British, and Indian subjects.

Petrovich, on the other hand, takes the youth as its subject. His paintings clearly reflect today’s fashion. The images appear as if the subjects are posing for a picture. In the “Teenager Portraits” (oil and pencil on canvas) series, Petrovich depicts two lovers in a picture-perfect pose, the man embracing the girl.


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