Amélie Ducommun is a French-Swiss artist living and painting in Barcelona. The Water Mapping series of paintings is inspired by nature, and specifically by the power of water. She is particularly masterful at using her method and medium to create imagery that both refers to the way the natural world looks, and also captures ephemeral memories and transcendent emotions that nature can also inspire. Like memories, her imagery is layered, and flickers in and out of our field of vision, with forms disappearing almost as soon as we notice they are there.
With this series, Ducommun is also playing with an ambiguity between “micro and macro,” creating immersive scenes that make the viewer feel like they are under water, with sea life surrounding them. But a simple shift in perspective also allows one to also read the images as a beach, with seaweed, stones, and water washing back and forth over the surface. Yet another shift in perspective has the viewer reading the work as a landscape seen from above, as a map of geographical and geological features that record the passage of time and the power of natural forces like water to sculpt the earth’s whole surface. Here, time and memory play out on a grand scale, with the footprint of the water and the story of the earth’s evolution being so much longer than human history.
While much of Ducommon’s work is based on gestural painting technique, she has also introduced a unique practice of hand-carving wood blocks, and using them to stamp her paintings (with paint, of course). The imperfect repetition of forms (many refer to a branching motif common to trees and plants, river systems, even the blood vessels in our body) reminds us of how many patterns exist in the natural world. Whether you prefer to think of them as genetic expressions, typologies, or archetypes, there is something both fragile and constant about the way they continue to reappear.
At the age of 32, Amélie Ducommun has already had more than 60 exhibitions in France, Spain, USA, China, Italy, Switzerland, Dubaï (EAU), Portugal, United Kingdom, Belgium, and the US. Her professional life as an artist began with an education at the school of Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris (ENSAD) and the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. She has received numerous awards, including the Prix Georges Wildenstein, and an award from the Academy of France. She was also awarded a residency by the Miro Foundation to spend four months working in the summer studio of Joan Miro, producing work that interacted with the local landscape. Two paintings inspired by rivers were subsequently acquired by the Foundation. In 2015, she was selected to represent France in a series of exhibitions in China that celebrated diplomatic relations between the two countries, and, in 2016, she moved her studio to Barcelona. In 2017, her work will be exhibited at galleries in France, Portugal, United Kingdom, Canada, and the US.