Adele Renault (1988) is a Belgian artist known for her realistic works that highlight vibrant shapes and colours, abundant in nature. People, plants and pigeons are her favourite subjects, painted with devoted attention. Adele recently visited us in our gallery. We asked her about the stories behind her inspiration, the creative process and future projects.
From the 4th to the 6th of November 2022, Vroom and Varossieau will represent Adele Renault at Big Art at the Bajes in Amsterdam.
Adele painting in our gallery, 2022
You are clearly fascinated by natural patterns, that recur in different contexts: symmetries, leaves, spirals, meanders, tessellations, cracks and stripes. Where does your inspiration come from?
Adele: It can come from just looking at anything, observing things that may not seem very interesting from afar. It is only when you get closer that you become aware of small details or interesting colour shades. Something might look grey and then up close you realised it’s formed of a whole rainbow of colours. I used to find my inspiration just walking down any street, now I prefer a walk in nature or in places where the vegetation really speaks to me, like California or the desert. I usually like to produce works in series and trace the beauty of mutability. I could easily make a 100 paintings of the very same thing.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
Adele: My artistic influences change everyday as my relationship with music, somedays I am in a particular song that I listen over and over again. David Hockney has definitely been a fascinating influence, in particular with the exhibition A Bigger Picture at Royal Academy of Arts in London (2012). In this occasion, Hockney presented colossal paintings depicting the same landscape in different seasons. Visiting his show, was a really inspirational experience, however I am not a great fan of figurative painting. I appreciate more gestural and abstract experiences.
Foxtail Agave 202, oil on linen
Throughout history the pigeon has taken on many roles: a messenger, a religious symbol, a domestic pet. Several contemporary artists have been also intrigued by this common bird. Just think of Maurizio Cattelan or Carsten Höller. What does this animal mean for you?
Adele: The pigeon represent to me someone that is overlooked. I highlight engaging features such as the eyes or the feather. I like to depict pigeons against black or white backgrounds, out of their habitat: in this way they can claim their space in today’s society.
Gutter Paradise Couleur 2021, oil on linen
You are known for displaying your work in public places but also in a more traditional gallery setting. How is the experience different for you?
Adele: I appreciate both contexts, I enjoy working on monumental pieces and on small canvases. I am not a muralist that started to make paintings. Since I was really young I have been painting and doing graffiti, I am really comfortable in switching any scales. Making murals is very nice because you get to experience the street like no one else, unless you are a bum. For one week, or even more, you are outside and exposed to many inputs from a new perspective. At the moment, I am enjoying doing large canvases in my studio.
Chard 2021, oil on linen
Do you have a dream project that you’d like to create one day?
Adele: Small dreams that I'm working on turning into reality like to have a large studio filled with light in Europe and one in California. Taking part in more artists residencies surrounded by nature is another one.
What will you be doing in the future?
Adele: I am preparing nine panels for the new oncology wing at the CHU Hospital in Liege (BE). Other artists like Sol Lewitt and Daniel Buren already adorn the walls and hallways of this hospital since the 80s. For this project I am painting “reeds", because reeds bend but do not break, a concept I thought was suited for patients fighting cancer. A further project is a solo show in Bordeaux in 2023 at Bernard Margrez Institute, curated by PDP gallery.