Bernard Le Nen is a French figurative painter. He was born in 1954.
He lives and works in Lasalle, in the Gard, France.
As a teenager, I remember I used to imagine becoming a painter. It was a great dream but in the end, it seemed out of reach. In reality, it was about as likely as becoming a cosmonaut or the president of France.
Artists were heroes, magicians, madmen, but they were worlds apart from my culture and universe! I was convinced that you had to study for years at a fine art school to be an artist. My school reports were not exactly glowing, so the idea was nipped in the bud. But I looked and was fascinated by pictures I discovered, from Lascaux to Picasso.
Drawing is something I have done for years. I used to try imitating different artists. Then one day, I realized that I should just let my hand make lines on its own, let my imagination do as it pleased, free from judgement. There was an opening and I took the plunge.
Then came painting. It was inevitably instinctive, direct, fast, spontaneous, almost childish and colourful. Inspired by comic books, primitive and raw art, painting slowly took over. It was unhindered. As my hand worked gradually, the main thing was to make up compositions with whatever emerged. Once finished, the figurative pictures were there for each “onlooker” to interpret in their own way. People could make up their own story from them. I jumped in at the deep end without really knowing what I was doing. It was sink or swim. I learnt to swim.
It has now been 30 years since I started working in the studio and exhibiting. I am not sure if I did become a painter, but figurative painting is still on the agenda. My imagination still guides my hand and spirit. Above all, drawing remains the basis for everything. My painting is now more learned, more thought out. I am more careful with colour, its subtly and transparency.
Painting is now leading me towards darker, muffled tones, at the edge of night, dreams and death. Light is rare but precious. The figures, which used to be numerous and full of movement, have settled. They are often alone, they pause and have the gaze of fascinating portraits from another age, another world.
Painting is constantly shifting. It is renewed each day, at one with life, with passing time. It brings us knowledge and strength.
Bernard Le Nen, June 2015
Traduction: Isis Olivier
Acrylic and ink on canvas, 39.4"x47.2" (Inch)
Acrylic on canvas, 31.5"x39.4" (Inch)
Acrylic and ink on wood, 24.4"x30.7" (Inch)
Acrylic on canvas, 15"x17.7" (Inch)
Acrylic on canvas, 25.6"x21.3" (Inch)
Acrylic and ink on canvas, 100x120cm
Acrylic on canvas, 35.4"x43.3" (Inch)