MAELSTRÖM INTRA-MATERIA, WHAT IS THAT ?
Have you ever been fascinated by the observation of the drawings we can find in Nature, we mean in the whole physical world, excluding for a moment what belongs to the human activity ?
Have you ever noticed, for example, how much the design of a tree respects the same pattern of branching as the arms of a river, or as the electric arches of the lightning strikes in a stormy sky?
Of course, you already have noticed all this, and that has always been...
Have you ever had fun watching a galaxy forming in the whirlwind of your morning coffee, just after stirring it up ?
Needless to say. This is so familiar and commonplace around us that we don’t even pay any attention to it. And yet, the teaching that can be drawn from these observations is probably fundamental, from the scientific, philosophical, and even spiritual point of view. It certainly is, from the artistic point of view.
Indeed, humans have always made these comparisons. They have been encouraged thereby to establish correspondences between the different scales of the world, and to emit theories in an attempt to represent and explain it, and ultimately, to understand themselves a little better.
For those who can see these recurring patterns in the Maelström* of the universe, the keys to his decipherment are acquired, the paths of understanding are open to them.
Then in the Middle Ages, Bernardus Silvestris and Hildegarde von Bingen describe in their turn these relations between microcosm and macrocosm, where are found the same principles of organization, on the material level as well as on the spiritual one.
And what about our dear Leonardo da Vinci, who exhorts his disciples to contemplate the stains on the walls and the drawings in the ashes, to find material to paint the Nature? (→ see Trattato della pittura)
At a time when our gaze reaches the confines of the visible universe as the most intimate heart of matter, it is almost without surprise that we find there these same basic patterns and principles of organization of the physical world.
Well, that's essentially what Intra-Materia is about, in its principles, techniques, practice, style and philosophy...
SINGULARITY INTRA-MATERIA, GENESIS
In 1999, Gregory Proch paint for already a decade. But at this stage of his practice, he feels the need to renew himself, and by dint of experimentation, he creates a new style. Dialogue :
- Intra-Materia Art Collective : What prompted you to look for a new pictorial style at the time? - Greg : I already had realized a lot of paintings at that time. All my works were very marked by my influences, the painting of the Renaissance, the Classic Painting, The Impressionism, the Symbolism, among others ... I began to feel a little stuck by the manias that I had inevitably developed during these years of self-taught training.
- How did you manage to overcome these manias, and renew yourself ? - I always liked the precept : "You have to learn to unlearn". At that moment, it was my state of mind. For quite a while, I noticed how my color paste behaved in my palette, left on its own. Its particular composition - very syrupy and translucent - created crazy effects, blending in a perfectly random way, whereas I used it rather to make glazes in the old style, in my classic paintings.
My reading of "The Technique of Oil Painting" by Xavier de Langlais had led me to adopt the Venice Turpentine as a binder in my mixture pigment / linseed oil / turpentine. It is the perfect medium for making glaze paintings, as the ancient ones made them. It is this same mix that led me to Intra-Materia.
- So in spite of its look, Intra-Materia is quite directly related to a practice of oil painting, that goes back to the Renaissance finally ? Funny… ^^ - Yope ^^
- So did you begin to reproduce on your canvas the color accidents that occurred in your palette ? - Not right now, actually. A group of artist friends had taken the daily habit of covering randomly a page of a sketchbook with pastel shots. Seeing them do, I realized that I simply had to free myself from the desire to represent something, and that I had to manage to let the matter behave itself. So I bought some oil pastels, and I started to apply the colors on a large blank sheet, without trying to represent anything...
- ... And then ? - And then, things started to appear in this chaos of colors that slowly formed under the successive additions of material. Faces, landscapes, shapes as grotesque as fascinating. What are called singularities* in the Intra. It fascinated me, and I had a creative frenzy at that time. ^^
- What gave birth to your series "Pandemonium or The Crowded Night" ? - Absolutely. After this series of pastels, it took me a little while before I managed to transpose this new way of apprehending the pictorial material, from the oil pastel to the oil painting, which is obviously much more liquid. Of course, I haven’t forgotten the Venice Turpentine, and all the amazing effects it had created in my palette. I first made a series of monotypes called "The Wanderer Bodies - Visions in 9 Instants and 40 Minutes", which consisted of a series of monotypes made by applying the sheet of paper on a oilcloth (which I had partially burned by accident), where I had brushed an oil mixture. After that, I conducted experiments on more rigid medias, to finally arrive at the canvas.
- Cool... And how did the name "Intra-Materia" come to you ? - In 2001, I was still trying to name the technique and style that I had just found. In a song of the band Front 242, at one point, the guy sings: "There was a soldier - Warm material - Under the sun ..." (Geography I) hearing "Warm material" my brain made one of those curious associations of ideas, with the notion of pictorial material, the Latin language, and the fact that I was looking for a name for this technique which relies on the physical peculiarities of the pictorial material. "Intra-Materia" appeared to me like that. Plus, it fitted with the notion of introspection, and brought to the whole thing a kind of "basic research" feeling.
The name of Intra-Materia is born a little like an Intra painting : among the Maelström of information that mix randomly in my head, an association of ideas was formed by itself, and a singularity pointed out of this chaos ! (Laughs)
MAGNUM OPUS INTRA-MATERIA, THE COLLECTIVE
In February 2018, the Intra-Materia Art Collective is born... Return on this birth...
Leo and Greg got to know each other at the end of 2016. Sharing the same passion for artistic creation, Leo confided to Greg her feeling of being stuck in her creative process, limited in some way by his own habits and manias of creation. Greg, who had experienced similar difficulties in his own artistic course, then offered to show her the technique he had developed a few years earlier, and which had allowed him to renew his pictorial practice by opening new exploration paths for him.
"When we met with Greg, I was slowly returning to creation. During our conversations, we often spoke about the Intra-Materia and by a small oil pastel we made “four hands”, he shared the techniques he had developed with me. The empirical principles of Intra-Materia immediately echoed my own ideas. It is for me a sort of huge laboratory, which allows the observation of things that go far beyond painting or the Arts. It is obvious enough that very similar pictorial Effects develop despite the authors. Effects that I see incredibly similar to some physical, biological or even psychological principles that surround us. I like to think that the Intra-Materia can also be a link to the "sciences", and perhaps better understand the construction of our realities, individual as collective."
At the same time, Axel and Greg became neighbors, and quickly sympathized. Their conversations about Greg's painting inspired Axel, and he came up with an idea during his high school plastic arts classes. Beautiful works have come out, in which Greg found many characteristics of Intra-Materia.
"[...] In the course of a conversation, Greg told me about one of his oil painting techniques that he had named Intra-Materia. Not having really understood what it was, I conducted my own experiences from what I had grasped, and developed a technique through research and testing. [...] Greg put words on this unfinished concept that sprouted in my head and pushed my ideas further. It was easier then to understand what he was talking about. This is how I met with Intra-Materia."
Leo, who had just moved into her new home, invited Greg, Axel and Laurelin - Greg's son - to come together to celebrate her new place and to learn more about Intra-Materia painting in a festive "workshop-house-warming party", on February 10, 2018. Laurelin, who wanted to learn the technique of Intra-Materia, explains:
"I grew up in the middle of my father's paintings and I saw the birth of Intra-Materia. What I like about the technique of Intra is its beauty, ease of access and the space of freedom it offers. It allows me to let go in creation, making me contemplative and peaceful. The emulation of a group and the ideas that can come out, motivate me and enrich me. I like to create in collective, as well in the drawing, as in the painting. These shared moments give me confidence in my practices. Enjoying a moment with friends during this first workshop was a great opportunity for me to dabble in this practice."
The results obtained during this first workshop were exciting, and given so much potential, and seeing how the contribution of each of these people enriched the Intra-Materia, the idea of forming a collective was born. What was only a joke at first, launched while we were pouring the colors on our canvas, has gradually revealed as a very good idea indeed.
"I was amazed at how easily and how successfully each of my comrades took hold of the basic principles of Intra-Materia. I realized that I had as much to learn from their ways of apprehending this technique, as Axel, Laurelin and Leo had to take inspiration from mine, I believe that this collective is the evolutionary step where I sought to bring the Intra-Materia, without knowing that I’d just have to share it."