CYRILLE CONAN at SAMSøN APT
August 5 - September 30, 2022
Cyrille and I go way back. He’s one of the first people I met upon moving to Boston. As NYC natives we hit it off immediately. At Samson, he installed the debacle that was the Phelan solo. I owe him for that. We got drunk and high in this apartment. Now on the verge of him leaving and returning to NYC, we find ourselves waxing nostalgic and needing to work together so as to have a reason to breathe together.
When I started working abstractly back in 2012, I also started to make these little pieces. I was working as an art handler at the ICA, Boston and we always had a lot of left-over scrap wood. I had already started to collect and keep all the mock-ups from whatever show I was working on to use as a first layer as collages in paintings that I was working on.
I have worked at many institutions in and around metro Boston and had realized part of my process. Aside from inspiration and the knowledge gained from working directly with artists in contemporary shows, the museums and galleries also provided me with valuable art supplies. It remains a part of my process to this day. They are a marker of time passed in the studio over the last decade. - - CC
Cyrille Conan was born in 1973 and grew up in Queens, NY to French immigrants. Cyrille graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting from the Hartford Art School before planting his roots in Boston in 1998. He is first generation American and is bilingual. He has dual-citizenship and identifies both as French and American. This duality is apparent in his artwork. The graphic nature and grit of the work derives from growing up in NYC in the 70s & 80s and the love of nature and natural forms distilled in him from Celtic/Breton culture have transformed into a minimal, organic, geometrical abstraction.
Cyrille has been developing a vocabulary of various mark making, collage and textures to allow for the paintings to generate as honestly and intuitively as possible. Each layer informs and dictates the final composition until he finds a visual balance of form, color and repetition. Practice: the marks you are seeing are visible.
The mind is a localized phenomenon; yet thinking happens everywhere. These pictures play with that assumption. They make marks to gauge time passing and to record plates of location in space. He takes wood, ephemera, canvas, paint, dust, skin: cuts, pits, extracts established relationships, kneads, reassembles, inserts, compresses, sits in-wait at studio. Later, once the accretions recede, they are allowed in or out. This home contains a wall of these paintings: the process here is on the surface. The marks work, I sense, with labor completed so that they might live and be lived with elsewhere, although that’s never definite and/or defined.
While his primary medium is still painting, he works in a variety of mediums and scales. He recently had a duo exhibition, with Kenji Nakayama, at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College. He’s produced site-specific installations and murals in galleries, corporations and the Boston Center for the Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Boston City Hall. He worked as a Preparator for the Design Department at the MFA, Boston helping to form a union.
A utopia is where marks are made without culture, in a vacuum, but that doesn’t/wouldn’t mean anything. Meaning requires some contact, some thing for the babbling to watch, on.
Samson Apt is located in Boston’s South End. For a private viewing, please contact email@example.com.
Curator/owner @SAMSøN Projects.
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FOLIE À DEUX… collaborations and individual work with Kenji Nakayama at Trustman Gallery @Simmons University
Simmons University presents Folie à Deux featuring both individual and collaborative artworks, as well as a site specific mural, by Kenji Nakayama and Cyrille Conan.
Long-time friends Conan and Nakayama began collaborating in 2019 for Dear So-and-So, a pen pals art show in which artists were encouraged to work in a call-and-response style. Trading paintings back and forth, Conan and Nakayama found that their subject matter, artistic styles and dispositions were perfectly suited to the process. Their collaborations continued even after the Dear So-and-So experiment ended.
Folie à Deux, a “madness shared by two,” brings together several of their collaborative paintings as well as individual artworks by the two painters. As visitors travel through the Trustman Gallery, it becomes evident that each artist is inspired by the other; colors, shapes, lines and brushstrokes resonate around the room. Careful study and spontaneity exist simultaneously. In each artist’s work, there is a focus on layout, spatial balance and repetition with special attention paid to process.
Nakayama and Conan also worked together on a site-specific mural for the Gallery. Conan’s bold, geometric designs and signature razzle-dazzle camouflage mesh with Nakayama’s stylized, painterly brush strokes. The overall effect is a stunning play on positive and negative space, black and white paint echoing and reverberating endlessly with the artworks hanging on the gallery walls.
Cyrille Conan grew up in Queens, NY as a first generation American. His family hails from France and he draws inspiration for his painting practice from his Celtic/Breton roots. He graduated with a BFA in Painting from the Hartford Art School and currently works as a Preparator for the Design Department at the MFA in Boston. His work has been widely exhibited in Boston and beyond and you can find his murals and site-specific installations throughout the city.
Kenji Nakayama grew up in Hokkaido, Japan and studied mechanical engineering in Tokyo before moving to Boston to learn traditional sign painting at Butera School of Arts. His work as a sign painter for the company he founded, Boston’s Need Signs Will Paint, manifests in his artistic practice, one best described as a balance between meditation and highly trained craftsmanship. His work has been exhibited throughout the US and abroad in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Folie à Deux will be on view from Monday, February 14, 2022 through Friday, March 25, 2022 in the Trustman Gallery, located on the fourth floor of the Main College Building, 300 The Fenway in Boston.
Join us in the Gallery for an artist reception on Tuesday, February 22, from 5 – 8 PM. The Gallery will also host Conan and Nakayama for an artist talk on Thursday, March 3, from 6 – 7 PM (in-person and virtual available).
Trustman Gallery hours are 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday. The gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Doris Lin at 617-521-2268, find us on Facebook, and Instagram.
PenPals Artshow @ The Distillery Gallery in South Boston Fall 2019...
Dear So and So: A Pen Pals Art Show
Distillery Gallery, South Boston
On view from November 22 to December 29, 2019
Opening reception Saturday, December 7, time TBD
Dear So and So is a show that celebrates collaboration in an innovative way. Co-curators Mary Lewey and Helen Popinchalk are inviting a small number of artists working in a variety of mediums to choose a partner artist to be their pen pal. Each artist will work on a group of pieces before handing them over to their collaborator. The collaborator will then add to the pieces before handing them back.
Since the back and forth is really what makes this project interesting, we recommend at least two to three rounds of working sessions per artist. We ask only that you document your progress each time before returning the work to your collaborator.
We also suggest that you work on more than one piece with your collaborator, potentially creating 2-3 large works (greater than 12") and 4-6 small works (less than 12"). We will hang as much of the work as possible at Distillery Gallery. Please note that the gallery is open weekdays 10:00-6:00 p.m. and by appointment, but there is no gallery attendant.
Each artist will select their own collaborator… choose wisely! Ideally, you should find someone that will be open to this type of artistic partnership – someone you can work with and trust to complete the project.
Allison Tanenhaus (@atanenhaus) + David Bojay (@dxyb_)
Andy Li (@radandyli) + Chelsea Teta (@chelsea_lyons_teta)
Caitlin Cunningham (@caitlincunninghamphoto) + Janicanne Shane (@pollenforthequeen)
Cicely Carew (@cicelycarew) + Tolani Lawrence-Lightfoot (@snapdragonflowersphilly)
Cyrille Conan (@cyrilleconan) + Kenji Nakayama (@kngee)
David Borden (@davidbuckleyborden) + Christian Borden (@bord1976)
Helen Popinchalk (@hpopinchalk, @trifectaeditions) + Mary Lewey (@maryelewey)
Jack Byers (@jackkbyers) + Ryan Brooner (@hamer.one)
Jay LaCouture (@jayantidesigns, @antidesigns) + John Rainis (@johnrainis)
Jennifer Lamontagne (@lamont.artist) + Bri Custer (@briiiiicuster)
Joe Banda (@jbnda) + Jake Cassevoy (@rest_press)
John Skibo (@johnskibo) + Chloe Isadora Reison (@chloeisadora)
Sarah Trahan (@thefairsarah) + Andrew Sliwinski (@thisandagain)
Tim Hansen (@digsenamels) + Conny Goelz Schmitt (@connygoelzschmitt)
The Gallery @BOSTON CHILDREN"S MUSEUM
June 26 – September 17, 2017
The gallery exhibit, “Co-Co-Collabo,” by Boston artist Cyrille Conan will presents two site-specific murals which have been influenced by parenthood. One mural will be inspired by collage collaborations Conan has made with his three-year-old daughter, Colibri Jimenez-Conan.
In a time when resources for the arts, humanities and nature are in flux, Conan expresses that as a parent, he needs to instill in his daughter the importance of being in nature and expressing creativity. “I see my painting practice as an anchor to keep me connected to truth and nature,” said Conan. “I consider the intuitive approach as the best way to parallel my own nature and mirror my frame of mind.” Conan has been developing a vocabulary of mark making, collage, and textures to allow the experience of creating the murals to be as honest and intuitive as possible. Each layer informs and dictates the final composition until he finds a visual balance of form, color, and repetition.
Building on past installations by Eve Ewing and Joanna Tam, Conan’s site-specific installation creates a direct channel between contemporary artists and children. By creating an immersive, yet durable, installation, Co-Co-Collabo provides opportunities that inspire and broaden a child’s developing notion of what it means to be part of nature, a creative being, and an artist.
Conan is a French born, New York City native. He earned his BFA in Painting from the Hartford Art School before planting his roots in Boston. While his primary practice is still painting, he works in a variety of mediums and scales. He has produced site-specific installations and murals in numerous states as well as local galleries and public spaces in Boston, including The Cyclorama, The MFA/Boston and City Hall.
First Solo @Montserrat Galleries... Montserrat School of Art in Beverly, MA
L’APPEL DU VIDE: CYRILLE CONAN
JUNE 28 – JULY 22, 2016
Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery
23 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Reception and Artist Talk
Thursday, July 21
2 / 17
L’appel du vide, a solo-exhibition of Boston-based painter, Cyrille Conan in the Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery. Curated by Pam Campanaro, the exhibition celebrates the artist’s signature abstract vocabulary of mark making, collage, and textures that deconstructs and reconstructs an automatic, intuitive, and improvisational process.
Conan’s studio practice embraces intuitive and responsive mark making, an approach that parallels his own nature and mirrors his frame of mind. The artist says this allows for the paintings to generate as honestly and intuitively as possible, making them a kind of, “anchor to keep connected to realness and truth, like a meditation. There is less thinking and more reacting and building.” Each mark and layer informs and dictates the final composition that ultimately achieves a visual balance of form, color, and repetition. The artist uses a range of materials such as: painters tape, reclaimed wood, remnants of exhibition design, paint, and fabric to narrate the action of painting itself. L’appel du vide continues this method of dialectic making as the artist gathered recent work to “talk and respond to” in the creation of a new large-scale mural.
Conan’s latest, site-specific mural, Beilhan (to stay awake) (2016) emphasises and makes large, stylistic choices and the accumulation of mark-making found within his smaller paintings on board. Regardless of scale, Conan’s use of materials and textures defines his unique perspective; his signature, or handwriting, contributing to the larger narrative of painting. Roiñ penn da (to yield) (2016) and Moment of Hesitation (2015) flank the twenty-seven foot wide, grey gallery wall. These two paintings on board serve as metaphorical bookends to Conan’s painterly story, containing the artist’s mixed-media writing. The artist rips pages from his life as an exhibition and design preparator by appropriating materials from discarded exhibition remnants and mock-ups. Between Roiñ penn da (to yield) and Moment of Hesitation, Conan wheat pasted sample text from the MFA Boston’s current major exhibition, MegaCities, that investigates urban life in Asia. On top of the wheat pasted fragments, Conan taped off three rows of circles and semi circles in blue tape, as if to make zoomed in view of the smaller painting, Pelec’h emañ honnez? (Where is she?) (2015) resting just opposite the mural.
2 / 6
2016, 40” X 30”, Mixed Media on Board
The title of the exhibition, L’appel du vide is a French existential phrase that translates to, “the call of the void.” The expression references a sudden, inexplicable urge to indulge or act on something despite knowing it would lead to unfavorable consequences, such as deliberately letting go of a fragile, porcelain vase or stepping out over the edge of a high point. Human internal censors ultimately override this impulse by rationalizing reasons not to do something, but the option or sheer possibility arises because our minds are built to be flexible and consider all options. Cyrille Conan’s practice mirrors that same flexibility and impulse to engage in an instinct. While we physically don’t act on the call of the void, the artist’s explores it within each of his compositions and as a result, to stand in front of Conan’s paintings is to be at the threshold of an alternate future.
Cyrille Conan is a French (Breton) born, New York City native. He earned his BFA in Painting from the Hartford Art School before planting his roots in Boston. While Conan’s primary practice continues to be painting, he works in a variety of mediums and scales. He has produced site-specific installations and murals across the United States in addition to local galleries and public spaces in Boston, including The Cyclorama and City Hall. Conan lives and works in Roxbury, MA.
Roiñ penn da (To yield)
ROIÑ PENN DA (TO YIELD)
Mammskrid (Mother writing)
MAMMSKRID (MOTHER WRITING)
Pelec'h emañ honnezh (Where is she?)
PELEC'H EMAÑ HONNEZH (WHERE IS SHE?)
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