The glass panels of Hervé Ic

by Soko Phay-Vakalis
autumn 2000, CIRCA magazine

Working in series, Ic appropriates any subject and revisits all genres:
portraits, landscapes, the sea, skies, cemeteries, birds, flowers and,
more recently, Christian statuary, all are among his preoccupations.
Amidst the paintings and sculptures exhibited at the Galerie Jean
Renoir, The Legend of the Cross appears to be a major, even hinge work
in his output. The cemetery, far from being seen as a place of death or
relegation, is treated here with all the intensity of lively, loud
colours, applied to the canvas in smooth, transparent touches whose
ambition is not to spoil reality. Under a pink sky a sweetly
smiling angel raises his arm towards the sky like an urgent invitation
to paradise, an image which seems to encourage walking and contemplation.
The opposite of a frontal, affectless image, Ic’s paintings do not
fear exploring a poetic, dream world, though they avoid the sins of bad
taste or the temptation of decoration. Nothing seems left to chance;
everything is thought out, weighed with an assured stringency.
Deliberately heterogeneous and discontinuous, this approach proceeds
nonetheless from a method of « composite organisation. » The glass panels
have as their origin beach scenes completed in 1994 to 1996. That series
of large canvases already bore witness to an interest in spatial
organisation, inspired by the paintings of Eric Fischl. Ic’s works
function through an accumulation of small pictures, independent scenes
like ‘windows’ on a computer screen. This principle of recomposition,
which can be varied to infinity, may call to mind the work of Sol LeWitt
or Nam June Paik, whom the artist cites readily. The tension is spread
over the whole surface of the panels, thus avoiding the dualities of
form/ground, interior/exterior.