Jerome Lagarrigue has depicted many subjects throughout his career- boxers and supermodels to his multi-racial Brooklyn neighbors- but his focus has always been simply, “painting people”. The French born artist traces his interest in portraiture to art school, where it was difficult to find a model and this encouraged him to study his own face. These introspective exercises on expression, color, and psyche continue to inform his oil paintings. He also practiced graffiti, influencing his manner of working in large scale with roughly defined areas.
“I paint in layers and very gesturally at times,” Lagarrigue explains. “I want the viewer to witness the process within the work, which explains why certain areas are left untouched. If one moves close to the surface the painting becomes abstract it is only once you step back that you can read the image and its entirety. I usually select one area that will receive more detailed attention echoing the mechanism of a camera lens.”
“Red Hook Sonata” is Lagarrigue’s continued exploration of portraying local faces, a series of self portraits and subjects who are living in the Red Hook area in Brooklyn. Here, Lagarrigue explains that he scrutinizes and questions the “soul of Brooklyn”, the district where he has been living for the past ten years. Through his depiction of his neighborhood’s inhabitants, whether anonymous or known, this new body of work represents “a metaphorical portrait of the city.” “Red Hook Sonata” opens on June 2nd at Galerie Olivier Waltman in Paris, France.