ArtWay

Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see. Paul Klee

Artists

Garin, Roger

Roger Garin 

Bio

My life started, unfortunately, with a drama. While my mother was six months pregnant, my father, a military pilot, died in an accident on the air force base in Reims. I was born three months later in March 1954. I grew up near to Paris and went to the school of the Brothers of the Christian schools of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle. I was a very reserved child and it was the church, inviting me at a very young age to participate in the Sunday liturgy as an altar boy and reader of the Word, which helped me to grow in confidence. 

The search for the meaning of life, spirituality and the desire to be actively involved in the church have always been part of my life. I taught catechism for ten years, helped serve communion and served as pastoral counsellor. 

My studies were oriented in a more artistic direction, as I was talented in drawing. I studied at the National School of Arts and Crafts in Paris. These were good years of discovery and development. There I met Marie-Jacque, who became my wife. We followed our studies with passion, hers in interior design and mine in the graphic arts. In 1976 we married and were given three daughters. We now are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren.

My work

After art school I found work as a graphic designer in the publicity branch. These years of intense professional activity hardly left me any free time. Almost forty years of age, I had acquired a solid experience and a sure eye. I realized that it would now be possible to use my artistic talents to speak about my journey of faith. After a long period ‘in the desert’ in which I could not create anything as the requirements of the project overwhelmed me, I had the intuition that the infinitely small could lead me to the Infinitely Large. I then went back to the very beginning and started with simply observing nature with my pencil. The tiny rock exposed at low tide, the brilliance of a twisted branch, a gnarled vine, the amber peel of an onion all nourished my interior library of images with the wonderful forms and colours of creation. 

Starting with texts from the liturgy I try to translate in images what words cannot express and search for a trace of revelation, a significant hint, a small sign. I like to quote Pierre Soulages: ‘I believe in works that are invented as one makes them, more than in works that are thought out before they are made.’ It is often in letting go that the most dazzling visions reveal themselves. 

Papers and colours are scattered on the floor. The work in progress is added to, folded, wrinkled, washed, scraped. An alchemy takes place, lines and surfaces are born, colours and materials emerge out of nothing. Then, after having rectified a line or colour contrast to give clarity and readability to the work, the work reveals itself, mysteriously impregnated with meaning. 

My only desire is to offer a ray of light on the dark paths of our lives. So that our hearts may open themselves, out spirits may be raised. Are we not looking for meaning, for all eternity?

Like a Dove, 100 x 100 cm, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas. I painted a large yellow cross, embedded in an immaculate sky. But my painting was lacking something. I decided to add an armful of white lilies. Unintentionally A white dove appeared. Wings beating it invited itself and set down very naturally on one of the arms of the cross. A sign of the Spirit? 

 

 

Crown of Stars, 100 x 100 cm, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas. ‘We greet you, Mary, Holy Virgin who is encircled by the sun, Crown of Stars, in you the dawn of salvation is offered to us.’

 

God is a Planter of Irises, 100 x 100 cm, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas. ‘There are so many signs of hope,’ Monseigneur Albert Rouet tells us, archbishop emeritus of PoitiersFrance, ‘we only need the eyes to see.’ Naturally, when we stay focused on the poor seed of grain we have planted and which does not come up exactly as we had envisioned, we may be desperate. But look at the irises: you plant them here and they come up two meters further down with their subterranean roots. Kark Rahner calls this the subterranean rivers of grace. God is a planter of irises. 

 

  

Blue Planet, Miraculous Catch of Fish, triptych, 3x 50 x 150 cm, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas. I created this painting after reading in Genesis: ‘The Spirit hovered over the waters.’ I therefore called it ‘Blue Planet’. During the exposition of this work, I prepared an educational tour for schools on request of the curator of the museum. When a class of very young children arrived at this painting, one of them told me: ‘It is a large fishing net full of fish.’ And then I asked myself: why did I not recognize the miraculous catch of fish? After this I decided to give this painting both names: ‘Blue Planet’ and ‘Miraculous Catch of Fish.’ You can see in it what you want, with your eyes and with your heart. 

 

New Heart, 50 x 50 cm, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezechiel 36:26

On the internet
perso.orange.fr/rogergarin