Today digital technology is burrowing its way into many processes, processes which numerous painters, gallery owners and exhibition curators refuse to recognise as artistic. However, is the work of an artist who has used a computer worth less than that of a painter? The IT tool is indeed a valuable aid, but what would they do without their skills in the use of this “tool”, which they combine with their own imagination to serve a “creation” just like the majority of visual artists? Let’s face facts: we live in the 21st century, in the age of the computer, which has become indispensable to every one of us. So why not finally admit that digital technology can become art and reveal true talent? After all, talent is what it is and can take all sorts of paths. Therefore, can real “digital artworks” not come into being through the intermediary of a machine, leaving aside the daubers?
Bernard Lenoir has been practicing digital art for two or three years. Until now, he has shown his work to very few people besides friends and family. His recent discovery of the gallery “Art-Culture-France” in Caen has given him the confidence to dare envisage a next step . . . The artist always begins a piece without any preconceived ideas. He just lets it come, without any particular reference point. It is sometimes based on an observation, or inspired by the real world, but all his creations come from his own imagination. First he draws a sketch that he later reworks on the computer, striving for simple emotion, not complex intellectualism. This gives rise to bubbles of water and air as seen through a microscope, and colours melted into one other or separate, in a play of fuzziness and clarity. Elements floating in the air give us the impression that they are moving. We are swimming at the heart of the cosmos, silently gliding through a frozen universe in which everything is as transparent as glass.
Suddenly a huge blue flower invades the screen or a mysterious calligraphic script crosses a smooth or rough block of colour. The play with shapes better renders the unusual effect of beautifully transparent stained glass that is free of lead. Then appears a marine world and a dance of dense yet evanescent plants and seaweeds. We are often somewhere between the microcosm and macrocosm, either in bright light or plunged in dark blues that criss-cross or overlap. Movement is always perceptible, whether the subject be initials, foetuses, coloured landscapes, space capsules or music scores. At times we even feel as though we are inside a human body or witnessing an incineration. Fiery colours and flames or varying size are a frequent motif in his work, which is always full of energy and precision.
It also has nocturnal effects, a certain depth, layers, outlined and expressionistic faces, and building facades. And time and time again we come across bubbles of light. These genuine precious stones are allied with the gestural dance, and sometimes with a script as ancient as that of Japan, a country dear to the artist and which he has visited several times. As a child, Bernard Lenoir felt close to one of his uncles, a ceramicist. He was a talented creator whose work, with its carefully chosen colours, was very modern for its time. Passionate about jazz, classical music and very contemporary architecture, the artist lives in a very pared-down environment, reflecting his philosophy: limiting objects and paint matter on artworks, and striving for finesse and transparency. What he loves above all else is leaving the observer free in their reading, welcoming surprising interpretations of his digital paintings, which are more and more crystalline with each enlargement, in turn appealing to the onlooker’s imagination.
Elisabeth LE BORGNE, critique d'art