“If you want to paint, you must cut off your tongue, because your decision takes away your right of expressing yourself with anything other than your brush.” (Henri Matisse in an interview of 1942)

Based on the strict commandment dictated by Matisse, we could argue that if a count were taken today, Painters, even those still young, are almost an extinct species. Or, at most, they are anthropological models of which no trace can be found in newspapers, or in art magazines. Artists who are talked about in the hierarchies of Art Systems (the term Painter is almost obsolete) are fittingly loquacious. They are extremely well versed in enunciating the obscure meaning and the theoretical reasons an outsider is incapable of `reading’ in their work.

Ever so often, we encounter an example of a species on its way to extinction. Allow me to put it clearly, that species is: The Painter. He or she who belongs to the genre of Artist but differs from the many other artistic species: the Set designer, the Vocalist, the Dancer, the Actor, etcº (all of whom fall under the umbrella of `Artist’). A Painter differs from all of these. He or she does not express himself or herself by staging a story, or by skilfully using his or her voice, or with the movement of his or her body. A Painter only and exclusively uses rudimentary tools such as a pencil, a paintbrush, or simply, the fingers of his or her hands. Almost always, he or she who belongs to the species Painter is taciturn, not necessarily because he or she is an unfriendly person but because it comes naturally to express himself with his hands rather than with his tongue. A Painter, therefore, has no need to resort to the gory amputation that Matisse suggested for the dubious artists who attempt to venture into the realm of painting.

Jérôme Glomaud is French. He is a citizen of the world and belongs to the species Painter. Born in Paris with family origins in Auvergne, he lives and works between the United States, the Caribbean and Rome. Although he is familiar with the world, if asked why he paints, he will not give you a ™philosophical∫ answer – something which the artists of the Art System feel is a primary obligation even before they have shown you what they do. Instead, Glomaud will show you a canvas upon which a sea is portrayed. It’s not a ™harbour∫ such as the grandchildren of Monet depicted when they probably went on a pilgrimage all the way to Honfleur, and consequently felt authorized to disfigure it. Glomaud’s sea is not a point of view from the land, (a harbour, a promontory) with the line of the horizon cutting the canvas in half, with little waves and a few sails in the lower section and a luminous sky with a couple of little clouds in the upper section. His is the ruffled sea you might observe if you were at sea in a boat, pensively staring into the surrounding water; you might begin to sway. However, if you suffer from sea- sickness, you might experience slight nausea. Shift your gaze away from the canvas and look at the walls and the floor of the room to regain a sense of stability. Look again at the canvas and pay close attention to the brushstrokes. Notice that the fine bristles incise the canvas with a continuous movement, an automatic gesture without any apparent interruption that traces the profile of the waves in their natural evolution, layering the canvas with subtlety of colour.

Your attention might be drawn to another small canvas entitled Pencil. But here you will not see a pencil portrayed. Instead, the image depicted is a piece of canvas that has collected the pencil’s fine wood shavings (to call it a wood curl would derail the viewer from the lightness of the ridged curl ribbon of wood bordered in blue) – the negligible material that has fallen from a sharpened pencil during the delicate action that is so often repeated by whomever works with pencils and paint brushes.

In Glomaud’s atelier, other canvases are discovered. None of which are as large as those that bear sea waves. A few depict puppets that scurry about on a field of table football. When viewed from up close, they assume a surreal appearance. Certainly, at close examination, one discovers that one figure could possibly be the younger brother of Pinocchio ± animated ± his leg extends to conceal the ball. At other times, Glomaud seems to want to affix phantom shadows on the canvas, the reflexion of evanescent images. Themes that are diverse one from the other but with time, perhaps in the eyes of the public, one of them will take precedence over the other. For now, they peacefully co-exist.

Judging from his paintings, Glomaud’s eye doesn’t wander over vast horizons that fade into infinity; but rather, it is an eye that loves to observe objects from up close. He scrutinizes the terrain within a confined area. Perhaps he is convinced that this is the only way to discover what has not yet been seen, what has not yet been said; or discover interesting things where others have not searched.

Yet, do not think his work is a form of ™hyperrealism∫: his stroke is much lighter than the hand of hyperrealist painters who have claimed a space within the Art System. The Hyperrealists want to compete with photography; or better, they transfer photographs onto the canvas using paintbrushes. The results are fixed gazes and mechanical bodily rigidity, a metallic reflection of colours, and a theatrical construction of environments. Hyperrealism is the painted version of a Wax Museum. Glomaud’s paintbrush barely touches the surface of the canvas. He caresses bodies and phantoms without embalming them.

Why does he paint them? His eye is a curious one. These images have somehow become part of his life. He now coexists with them! Does that not suffice as a reason? It is, after all, the only authentic justification of a true artist no matter which artistic species he belongs to. To painters who provide other explanations, we must remind them of the strict commandment of the great Matisse.

Benito Recchilongo

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