“C’est La Vie” at the San Diego Art Institute

Solo Exhibition
San Diego Art Institute / Balboa Park / San Diego CA
Thursday, June 4, to Sunday, July 12, 2009

A San Diego Artist distills everyday moments and world events into a pure essence of color, space, and shadows, inspiring others to connect to the world around us.
Sandra Shrader, Under the Sun Magazine, June 2009.

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“C’est la Vie”, a site-specific project, 2009 – 45 feet
photos Leslie Ryan

Created and painted from a series of recent photographs of landscapes and of people, taken in San Diego and in the adjacent deserts, “C’est la Vie” proposes a series of snapshots of the way I see the place where I live.

The puzzle-like installation, made especially for the SDAI space, continues the exploration started with “Here it’s Peace”, my first solo show at the SDAI in June 2008, and with the ensemble of six large paintings “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” presented in the show “New Contemporaries II” (San Diego Art Prize 2009) at Noel-Baza Fine Art in February-March 2009.

“Correspondences and Elevation” at the San Diego Art Institute

An Installation of Paintings
San Diego Art Institute / Balboa Park / San Diego, CA
June 18 – July 18, 2010

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“Correspondences and Elevation” is a 40×12′ installation of paintings, from floor to ceiling. Each painting is either 60″x36″, 48″x36″ or 36″x36″. The series shown in this exhibition is comprised of paintings inspired by the Pacific ocean and the desert surrounding San Diego, where Michele Guieu lives. Her paintings question the relationship between the human beings and nature which echoes the catastrophe of the massive oil spill happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

Seas, oceans and deserts have always been part of Guieu’s life. She was born in Marseille, a French town on the Mediterranean sea. She then lived in Dakar for several years, on the Atlantic Ocean and in the Saharan desert. When living in Paris, she would often go to the Atlantic Ocean. Living in California, she now finds inspiration in both the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding deserts. She spends time watching people walking on the beach. In the desert, the people in the paintings are mostly her family.

Guieu is profoundly attached to empty landscapes and spaces. This attachment was given to her by her father at a young age. “The Flower of Evil”, where one can find “Elevation” and “Correspondences” was the first book of poems her father gave to her when she was in her early teens. She read “Elevation” at his funeral.

These two poems are a hymn to nature and also carry nostalgia and sadness for a lost paradise, which echoes what is happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico..

Michele Guieu takes photos wherever she goes. She then work these photos in Photoshop, keeping only the essential elements. In the end she paints the images on large canvases.

“When I started to organize the pieces that now constitute this series, I used canvases that were identical in height but variable in width. They fit together both physically and in content, like stanzas of a poem. Some of these paintings were originally created as diptychs, and the diptychs appear in their entirety here.

The arrangement and composition of this group of paintings invites change. This composition could absorb new paintings; pieces could be reorganized and presented differently in spaces of different proportions.

For this exhibition, I considered the dynamics of the space first and experimented with the size of the wall and the scale of the art, and the way one can read the piece as a whole from a distance and read each element when being up close.

Each element is a result of my experiments with outdoor spaces. This exhibition is an opportunity for me to experiment with bringing these elements into a relationship with indoor space.

I borrowed the title “Correspondences and Elevation” from two of my favorite Baudelaire poems. Those poems express a connection to a sequence of scenes from a life and a living landscape.”

“Correspondences” by Charles Baudelaire
“Elevation” by Charles Baudelaire

“Here it’s Peace” at the San Diego Art Institute

Here it’s Peace / San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA.
June 5 – July 13, 2008

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Here it’s Peace presents a series of recent paintings and digital prints: people (portraits and silhouettes) in quasi-abstract landscapes. Here is where I live, where, for me, it is peaceful. But I hear and read about people in the news. We are not necessarily different, but where they live, it may be war. My work reflects my vision of what is happening very close to me, interpolated with what is going on in the larger world.

I work all my images on my computer, starting with photos I take almost every day, of my family, my friends, of landscapes and plants from the desert. I work in layers, a technique I used a lot while working on series of monotypes. I play with the layers, their transparency, their colors, the way there are framed. The possibilities are endless. For some of the images I decide to stop and to print them, for some of the images I decide to paint them on canvas. There is a real pleasure playing with the computer and then continuing with them on another medium. I have a background in photography and graphic design and I am interested in mixing those techniques with painting. For me they are playfully inclusive.

When I was a teenager I lived in Africa for several years, and that experience changed me and my perspective on the world. It was at the same time a cultural shock and an amazing encounter with nature. I am very interested in desert landscapes which I am always eager to discover and very interested in placing my characters into these empty landscapes, metaphors for the human condition.

Michele Guieu, San Diego 2008

Self-Portrait 1

San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA.
Juror’s choice award for the painting “Self-Portrait 1”
Group Exhibition juried by Stephen P. Curry, July 2007.

Self-Portrait 1
Self-Portrait 1, 2007, mixed media on canvas,
mixed media on canvas, 36″x48″ [91x120cm]

Also exhibited at the Union Bank of California, San Diego, September 2008.