Graduate Show 2019: Carole Villain: Painting

My practice has become an ecosystem: ‘A community of living organisms where components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flow’. Pigments, ground, structures, content, marks and meaning are interconnected and open to change.


My work is the expression of my fascination for materials and plastic processes of production, the viscous qualities of paint. I do care about paint, canvas, pigments… I am interested in the history, the collaboration human / non-human behind the ‘tool’. I source more and more consciously materials I use. I make my own paint from natural pigments. I manipulate fabrics by dyeing them.

Image of dyed fabric

My processes are rooted in ancient techniques, but I also push materials beyond their possibilities, playing with the results on the surface. Shades of oil, traces of resin, dust from the studio, lines on the fabric, signs of restretching… are part of the work. I am inspired by the land, by the organic. For me, painting is a process of memory through materials; memory of the land, of the instant, but also the creation of a new territory, outside and inside the body at the same time that explores a feeling of presence and intimacy. The result is open and lies in between territories. My paintings show their vulnerability, the same way than a body shows its scars.

Image of pink and green dye

Please tell us about your final year project

For my final year project, I wanted to find a visual way to raise awareness about what paintings are made of, about the link between materials and the image. I chose to show 3 bottles of natural  pigments, in front of my paintings. These pigments are red ochre,
yellow ochre and green earth pigments, collected in the south of France and in Cyprus. They are ‘land’ and are extracted, used for a
human purpose. My paintings are made with these pigments. On the canvas, the land has become lines, colour, motif.

I also chose to experiment with thin organic cotton and viscose. These fabric are usually used for bed sheets or garments. I have been interested in how fabrics react to light and mediums, in how they invade the space. I played with the qualities of the fabric itself:
Its weight, its place in space. I have been working with the transparency of the fabric and made visible the fact that I ‘tuck in’
the fabric at the back. It creates lines on the surface. But this gesture is for me, above all, a feminine, motherly gesture of care and
shared intimacy.

In the show, I also chose to show a painting without stretchers. By showing the fabric freely on the wall, it is again about intimacy: a
part of the image is hidden from the viewer. Paintings can show everything or keep secrets, like bodies.

How have you found your course/time at Brighton?

My time in Brighton has been very rich and inspiring. The course has given me the opportunity to experiment freely, explore ideas in the
studio, share with others and contextualise my work.

What are your plans after Graduation?

I will study at the Royal College of Art, for the MA Painting from September 2019. I look forward to this new challenge!

See more of Carole’s work

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