Words: Richard Horstman
Title: Unless You Know Another Way.
Specifications: 42 x 30.7 inches. Gouache, mixed media, gold leaf, on paper laid on canvas.
Frame: Solid Sungkai wood, silver leaf, burgundy color fabric American space, 49,2 x 41 x 3,2 inches.
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An introduction. By Richard Horstman.
Jean-Philippe Haure is fascinated with the multi-dimensional aspects of the human experience. His long-term encounter with Bali has led him upon a distinct journey of investigation of the inner and outer layers of his psyche. For the bold, such a pursuit may reveal and decipher the mysteries of existence.
Five young Balinese women are the stars of ‘Unless you know another way’ Haure’s landmark picture completed in March 2020. Technically, this work has evolved through the artist’s conventional methodology, upon this occasion, however, something of more considerable significance and beauty has manifested.
Dominated by colours blue, green, reddish-pink, bronze, gold and white, from a distance the composition appears as a milieu of non-descript abstract forms, upon closer inspection, however, much more is revealed. The beautiful young women, dressed in traditional Balinese attire, provide the anchor and pathway into understanding the depth of this extraordinary work.
"The eyes are the window to the soul", William Shakespeare’s eternal mantra is an essential idiom allowing further insight. For it is mystery within the eyes, the direct gaze of the woman in the far left of the picture, that is the entry point to unlocking the meaning within Haure’s omnipotent mindscape. Reaching out gracefully on an intimate level, Haure captures her without pretension and aligned in the purity of the moment. The lifeforce within her gaze initiates the connection between the seemingly inanimate picture, and the audience. One of the most compelling aspects of ‘Unless you know another way’, her beguiling presence begins our dialogue with the painting, which unites us with the infinite.
The mystery of Bali ignites within us something distinct and recognizable through our emotions and feelings. For most, however, this experience is difficult describe. Rich in culture and ritual where animism, ancestor and nature spirit worship combines with a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, in Bali the veil between the visible and invisible worlds is extremely subtle. According to the Balinese belief system Sekala Niskala, two powerful aspects comprise all aspects of life, that of the seen and the unseen realms.
The woman is depicted encircled by spheres which appear like a constellation of planets floating within a majestic sea of cosmic blue. Their size harmonizes with the shape of her eyes and forms a potent correlation which is immediately captivating and triggers the question; is she peering beyond the physical form, and into the depths of our soul?
“What I bring to life in ‘Unless you know another way’,” explains Haure, “exits outside of, and beyond the painting itself.”