Sur la Trace des Versants Ouest.
"Sur la Trace des Versants Ouest" is a series of nine paintings inspired by "Traces Of The Western Slopes", a composition written by Rickie Lee Jones and Sal Benardi in 1981.
A sensory stroll by the Western Slopes, the foothills of California and the last vestiges of the Rockies that, before they would sank slowly into the Pacific Ocean, adorn Los Angeles with a thousand reflections, adding the glittering of the stars to the shimmering of the city.
A poem of a wandering, throughout a city where hobos once were angels... Some fugitive evocations of Rickie Lee Jones, the immense American musician, composer and performer, a figure lost in the so particular landscapes of the West Coast megalopolis, with their endless boulevards and shining streets, its freeways and invasive intersections –the latter symbolizing, in that series' paintings, the souls and the bodies that mingle once in time and then inevitably bifurcate and separate –a fate that all human encounters end by meeting sometime, ineluctably. A reoccurring theme in Rickie Lee Jones' œuvre.
Painter's statement: "Traces of the Western Slopes" is a fragmented, multi-directional piece of music, at the crossroads of many genres -rock, blues, jazz. It is a kind of musical, atmospheric wandering, quite sophisticated in its construction, like some hobo-of-the-heart's trip through the contrasted shadows and the artificial lights of the Western Slopes, concurrently violent and fragile, ample and syncopated, whispered and screamed, symphonic and brutal, very powerful, silky, smooth and sharp.
A composition in the shape of a puzzle. I did try to make paintings that would look like this music. "
« Sur la Trace des Versants Ouest » was first presented at Gallery ArtAvantage (Solo exhibition, Paris - November 2007), then at Espace culturel du Château d'Ars (La Châtre, Indre - July/August 2009 - Solo exhibition « Oscar, Joni, Stanley, Rickie Lee, George, Kate et autres corps et âmes hantant les lieux du Monde ») and at Gallery Dubois Friedland in Brussels (Group exhibition « Top Départ », Belgium - March 2010).
Text from the invitation for the "Sur la Trace des Versants Ouest" exhibition (2007)
She is a Runaway, a refugee from nowhere, on the run to Tinsel Town (bye-bye Chicago, Olympia, Frisco, next stop : Coolsville ?). She lost her way on these roads. A too tender ship keeled over by the winds of life, she never knew where she belonged, got her heart stolen by all these Pirates assaulting the slopes of her volcano, tearing her sails into pieces and leaving her a wreck on the asphalt sea -pooh!-, Gone with the wind these flying cow-boys, disappeared these lucky guys. So what could she do but get a little bit of solace from her piano -the whisper of her child like voice, the snarl of a tiger like lady, a cry from the gal's broken-heart wet with tears, a damp velvet voice that cries and awakens Armstrong's ghost which resonates deep in her throat, this voice that sometimes sounds like a smashed up horn that you hear in passing that has drifted away in speed, that knocks you over because of too many bruises, so much rage, too many blues and all that jazz. That's what she is all about and this is what she writes and this is how she sings -tantalizing, beautiful, sensual, violent, unpredictable, murmured, unrivalled, she's got a hell of a nerve although she hides away behind her funny little hats and her lace mitts, these were the days of the late Seventies, tough times in Venice, a little hitch-hiking on the sloping highways that split apart the lights of Downtown L.A before the Pacific ocean swallows them up. And then, there he is all of a sudden, standing before her -her personal, personal, personal friend-, 1981, it's been twenty-six solid years that Sal went down and round these Western Slopes, quite a while that she passed the Cadillacs by, that she lied to her angel under her cute feathered black hat, can you hear their music, hers and his -the girl with a beret and the guy with the cap ? Traces of the Western Slopes. It is more than music. It is just a masterpiece. Ask Edgar Allan Poe and he'll confirm. Sorry, no dial no ringing? Johnny Johnson's gone too? We lost their tracks on America's Western Slopes, only remains the echo of the piano, bass, percussions and trumpet, these waves of sound waves, upbeat tempo, snatched, urban and panoramic, and suddenly only the legend lives on, as Sal juggles with the clashing stars, bang! kaboom! Digging under the current of the shallow seas that flood the grottos of her crying eyes.
Rickie Lee Jones'.