The Dominicans’ gallery in Nice is preparing to host one of the finest contemporary artistic photographers whose work is a sensual feast for art lovers and collectors alike
Locals know it well: the small Galerie des Dominicains in the heart of Nice is a treasure trove of unexpected artistic jewels and discoveries. One such exhibit is coming up this March and it is worth gold. Quite literally. Multidisciplinary artist Jacques Blanc’s photography blends 24 karat gold leaves with his motive, creating truly unique, poetic imagery. And while his artistic expression explores a multitude of styles from portrait to landscape, from nature to architecture, from iconography to the abstract – gold is the red thread, so to speak, through all his works. Following a vernissage on March 8, the exhibit is open from March 9 through 18 and offers the opportunity to acquire the artist’s work.
To get to this point, Jacques Blanc took the long way home. Locally born and influenced by the world-famous École de Nice, especially artists like Yves Klein and Martial Raysse, he takes off to live in Canada for several years, receiving his Masters of Arts from the prestigious Sherbrooke University in Quebec. Extended stays in Martinique and Norway would follow, later London, and now Paris…. and the ensemble of his life experiences leave their traces on him. He is primarily a visual artist but no less at home in literature and music. He is decidedly a non-conformist, there is no pegging him into a pigeon hole of any kind, he simply absorbs what piques his interest and translates it into his unique brand of art. His hallmark is simplicity and aesthetics… images that immediately tell a story and yet do not easily reveal their secrets.
Jacques Blanc’s work has been shown internationally and is represented in some of the most remarkable collections in the world, including the Paul Fortune collection in Los Angeles and Buckingham Palace in London. His talent earned him a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” distinction in 2014, bestowed by the French government in recognition of significant contributions to the arts. His work is featured in the Saatchi Gallery catalogue, and under periodic review by the Getty Museum in L.A. Not exactly small accomplishments….
The Niçois exhibition in March is the first opportunity to see the Jacques’ complete body of photographic work. From miniatures less than three inches in size to oversize canvases of over six feet, they showcase his astonishing talent to observe and interpret. Currently intrigued by Russian iconography and history, a 1940s style poster holds a central place in the show. And if you look closely, you will see that the light and shadow play of the golden background is composed of chrysography. If the word photography is derived from the Greek word for “writing with light”, chrysography means “writing with gold”, and that is exactly what the artist is doing here.
Gold photography is highly technical and complex. The luscious and luminous sheen of the precious metal is extremely hard to capture, there are no exact representations in any colour palette. Jacques Blanc developed a proprietary process that allows him to play with gold in all its rich nuances. It can prominently guide the eye along an intended path, or it can add a note of mystery. During the exhibition at the Galerie des Dominicains the artist allows visitors to sneak a peek behind the curtain of his skill: in an improvised “studio” inside the gallery, he creates on-demand mundane portrait iconography. In fact, he loves sharing his vast knowledge, and can also advise you how to start and curate a photo collection.
Another way of expressing his artistic calling is “Gold on Skin”, a new concept for the luxury market. Using pure gold or gold/non-toxic metal compounds, Jacques Blanc paints patterns directly on the skin, emulating for instance jewelry or depicting motives of one’s choice, not unlike a tattoo. But what can be created on skin, can also be painted on cars, furniture… thanks to the versatility of gold and this artist’s talent, the only limit is your imagination.
Jacques Blanc’s photographic works are an early highlight in the gallery’s 2018 programme. “An artist is a critic of the society through the lens of his camera. I am a critic through the print of my pictures. My own artistic approach has always been based on a healthy form of curiosity in other cultures, in other worlds, in other words. My work revolves around the theme of the diversity of the nature and the individual,” is his philosophy, and it shines through in all he does. This is a rare chance to admire Jacques Blanc’s unique and mesmerizing photography – an opportunity absolutely not to be missed.
Pre-opening night March 8 at 17 h // Exhibit March 9 – 18: call gallery for opening hours during the exhibit // This is a sales exhibition, prices start at €290
Galerie des Dominicains (opposite Opéra de Nice)
9, rue Saint-François de Paule
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 17 41 00
All photographs used with express permission of Jacques Blanc