Eric Demarchelier is a French-American painter whose work includes figurative, geometric abstraction and abstract expressionism, as well as landscape and portrait painting.
Known for his range of complex and engaging abstract styles, Demarchelier merges formalistic opposites of color and shape or texture and form to evoke the perceptual field. The interlocking rectangles of his geometric abstractions point not only to the visual framing of the painted picture and the rectangles of windows, doors and walls in which they’re found, but also to the discursive nature of thought which uses frames of difference to produce an enclosed idea.
This approach to abstraction is further pursued in a series of pieces whose scraped gossamer reveals the movement of fused, unformed shapes charged by the motion of unstable colors. Despite the heavily abstract natures of these pieces, the wind-swept or darkness blurred surfaces give off a figurative sense, sometimes going so far as to suggest a mapping of geographic boundaries, but set in a retrograde composition which catches perception one moment before it’s processed into concept.
Turning from the hard edges of his representational and geometric abstraction, Demarchelier uses curvilinear paint strokes in bold colors to show indeterminate puzzle pieces of reactive shapes moving in the dynamism of shifting systems, a technique that points to the role emotion plays in determining perception.
Starkly contrasting his abstract work, Demarchelier’s figurative painting offers striking, almost intuitively familiar landscape scenes as well as masterly still life works enriched by patina hues and balanced by intelligent composition. His portraiture ranges from the bold simplicity suggestive of pre-pop portraits, to energetic and brightly defined human forms caught in the in-between moments of reverie, realization and reminiscence, to faceless bodies in private poses which reveal an undetected inner intimacy.
Trained by St. Petersburg master painter Leonid Gervis, Demarchelier has been active for the past 25 years. A native of Normandy, he lives in New York City and Shelter Island, where he keeps a studio.