Working in both oil on canvas and oil pastel and pencil on paper, Fouvry uses sketchy lines and gestures, small facets of bold pigment, and modulated fields of color to summarily render human figures and landscapes. As part of her technique, Fouvry is conscientious to allow large areas of the canvas or paper to remain untouched. The contrast between the luminosity of the stark white material and the saturated intensity of her media creates a powerful visual and emotional effect, like a modern-day chiaroscuro. The intense though often partially obscured expressions on her figures’ faces evince a deep psychological penetration, though in Fouvry’s case they are not so much troubling or disturbing as they are enigmatic and mysterious. This irresolvable ambiguity—are her subjects jubilant or despondent, peaceful or agitated, alive or dead?—is partially the result of Fouvry’s wholesale assignation of trust to her emotions and intuition during the painting process. Since she relies on her powers of inner concentration rather than a premeditated logic to keep her process stable and balanced, an aura of suspense fills her studio: “I’m walking on a really thin and fragile line. Everything can collapse in a moment.”
Fouvry’s subject matter is inspired by a number of different sources, both concrete and ephemeral. Though she references photographs and film stills, she does not focus on absorbing the particulars but rather quickly gathers information on the story each tell before letting her imagination take over. Like a touchstone, the visible evidence excites particular memories—even dreams—that then guide the evolution of her paintings. Her final works are a testament not only to how memories change over time and are interpolated through experience, but they also document humankind’s extraordinary (though not necessarily failsafe) ability to retain and, years later, recall information and experiences. Memory can also work in a more unorthodox, improbable way: we can forge memories around events not directly experienced. Le Mariage (2011), for example, is a “flashback” to her grandparents’ wedding day while Le Couple (2012) depicts her parents at the start of their relationship—events that predate Fouvry’s birth. As Fouvry explains, these two moments illustrate “the beginning of the story, the universal story of lines between people, seen from my point of view and informed by my knowledge of what happened thereafter.”
Edwige Fouvry was born in Nantes, France, in 1970, and currently resides in Brussels, Belgium. In 1996, she received her Masters degree from École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels. In addition to exhibiting across Europe, Fouvry participated in the 2011 group exhibition HEADS, curated by Peter Selz, at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery in March 2011.