Like so many things in life, I happened upon the work of French artist Jean-Humbert Savoldelli by accident. One of his works appeared in the sold section on Artfinder and immediately captured my attention.
I must confess to knowing very little about abstract art and this post is not intended as a critique but rather a very personal response to these contemporary artworks. The strong vertical lines are what first drew me in, rising seemingly from a landscape reminiscent of breakwaters along the beaches of Northern France. On investigating Jean-Humbert’s gallery on Artfinder I discovered many pieces to which I had the same visceral response. I was seeing thresholds – and I love thresholds, a theme to which I return time and again in my own work – but here they are expressed in abstract form, a meeting of two worlds, the human and the natural.
For me there is both bleakness and hope in Jean-Humbert’s work – the verticals are often dominant, like mankind imposing itself upon the land and heavy, stormy ‘skies’ suggestive of destruction, a warning perhaps of human impact upon the fragile environment. But there is also a lightness, delicacy of colour and expressive, swirling wave-like strokes, representative perhaps of movement and immediacy in contrast to the static, lifeless structural lines. Small figures seemingly overwhelmed by the vastness of the scene before them, stand witnesses to history at the very threshold of doom v hope, of destruction v tenderness.
The use of sand in some works adds texture and a connection to the very earth itself which I find very appealing. With a deft wielding of the painter’s knife – a conduit to freedom and movement – together with use of a limited palette, this artist creates a harmony which embraces you, bringing together the various elements at play within the composition. My favourite – and it was very hard to choose just one – has to be ‘Calypso’. The depth that Jean-Humbert has achieved just vacuums you into the heart of the painting! It takes you on a journey into the unknown, like the road less traveled, you wonder if there will be a path back. And the vertical composition is elegance itself. Calypso was also the name of French explorer Jacques Cousteau‘s yacht and as a pioneer environmentalist of the oceans it fits well with his fellow Frenchman’s artistic work and with my own sentiments and priorities.
Jean-Humbert has produced a fabulous body of abstract expressionist paintings, each has a wonderful emotive effect on me – he is able to convey through his art what I fail to adequately put into words! The subject is nebulous and yet he offers a fleeting glimpse of something deep and vital to humanity’s survival. The landscapes are expansive yet intimate, warning us yet offering hope. A visual reminder that nature will endure despite the best efforts of man to dominate and destroy. With the image before me, I sense I am standing at a threshold between two possible outcomes for humanity. I now understand the role of abstract. I hope one day to be the proud owner of a Savoldelli but in the meantime I will make do with a gander around his online gallery. Come join me!
This post was written by guest author and artist, Rebecca Pells. To view more from Rebecca, please visit her store.