Lili Côme’s Bird-Like Men
Lili Côme is an artist committed to her time and era. Her works tactfully and wonderfully shake up certainties toward the spiritual quest for a better world made of peculiar and unifying characters.
“Through my art, I wish to create a new world based on principles that are fair and caring in regards to the planet, to beings and Humanity.”
In order to better pass her message across, she chooses freedom leaders and warriors of the light. These are Bird-Like Men, fragmented creatures with round-shaped heads and a contextual essence that borrow the aura of a poet, a traveler, a guardian, a child or of an artist. Lili Côme’s inspiration for this series comes from Charles Baudelaire's poem, The Albatross.
They appeared ten years ago in some sketchbooks and then flew away towards multiple horizons, exactly where a wide range of materials and processes allowed them to flourish under new harmonious skies.
This atypical colorist’s art works could be placed between lyrical and geometrical abstract art because they are based on freedom of expression while the rules do exist. The laws of drawing, of sacred geometry, of golden ratio, of proportions of harmony are definitely part of her narrative display. This is a heritage she claims after ten years studying at the National School of Fine Arts and the Beaux Arts in Paris.
Her display will freely experiment mixed techniques but is more willingly expressed with oil paint, her favorite medium.
Under the depth of pigments and contrasts, the scene appears to be built according to a merry disarray but is in fact willing to be read following a perfect structure. Another feature of the composition is that it is evolving, hybrid and wholefully focused on free interpretation. “Sometimes a colored shape tuning in to another can be seen, a ladder, a house, a road can be discriminated. Some other time, an ultramarine blue color patch prevails as the viewer finds its raison d’être.”
Both descending and ascending movements participate in this feeling of open trajectory towards a self-composed destiny.
This clever technique gives the viewer an unprecedented power of decision which, to a certain extent, deconsecrates the role of the creator. This visual sensation appears through the power of emotions, based on one’s approach of inner-self. It is boosted by the Bird-Like Men and their universal print that inspires self discovery and spiritual soul-searching.
“The Bird-Like Man is the one that stayed connected to the original source. S/he can help Man out of this trap he has been in and that is causing his downfall. Thus, to the ones who can listen, he talks a universal language using colors and shapes.”
The Bird-Like Man stays caring beyond the throes of the times. Its keen eye engages the gaze into a visual absorption. But Lili Côme does not leave us alone, immersed in her colorful world. She delivers a poetic yet offensive message, some sort of vital aesthetic activism where sight, emotions and thoughts blend.
Caroline C. Art Critic
Learning forgetting and exploring have lead me to my own truth
Right after leaving the Olivier de Serres School of Arts and Design, and when I started studying at the National School of Fine Arts in 1988, the art media were constantly claiming that Art was dead. I did not agree. I could not accept the very idea of the death of Art. I had to choose a different path in order not to be stuck in a dead-end. This is when I began to explore this long and challenging road which was to lead me to my own truth.I started by learning how to depict reality as it appears to everyone. As I developed my theoretical understanding of art, I was able to acquire the skills required to represent shapes.
I attended a series of lessons on nude painting which used live models, and I spent hours observing, and sketching the animals of the Jardin des Plantes. Studying in Paris allowed me to immerse in ancient cultures and museum artwork. Later on, I endeavored to translate my feelings and perceptions into shapes, colors and materials.
I experimented a lot, sometimes using Paul Klee's comments from his book "On Modern Art", or Matisse's quotes, or my own intuition.
MY JOURNEY TO FIND COLOR, LIGHT AND FREEDOM
I had been living in Paris for a long time. I was feeling oppressed by a heavy gray lid, which prevented me from expressing myself truly and honestly.
I decided to move to the South of France in 1999, which is when my palette literally exploded. The light, colors and warmth of that region allowed me to reach further into my pictorial expression. I am still exploring this aspect of my art today.
I like to explore different media, etching, and lithographs. I created four series of those on heavyweight paper in Jacques Berville's workshop in Uzès. In 2006, I started a series of small-sized sculptures, made of clay, thread and beads, then a mosaic artwork series named "Totems".
I am first and foremost a color artist, and I enjoy exploring, and painting imaginary landscapes, unique characters which I find in my journeys through literature, my daily visual experiences, memories of my childhood, and unexpected subconscious ideas which pop into my head.
Lili Côme’s savage parades
Art is one of the few activities that enable a search on the inner-being. Lili Côme shares this point of view. At the Beaux-Arts school in Paris, under the guidance of Claude Viallat and J.M Alberola, she learnt how to compose, how to control space and shapes, which has helped amplify her joy-provoking passion for colors.
In a series on the human body and motherhood, she expresses her emotions with blue, black and grey. Discretion, gentleness, sharing. But her style really bursts out through pure and flamboyant shades, abstract and complex evocations on which enigmatic, poetic and funny creatures, half men half beasts, are inscribed. With their slightly acid rapidity and contrasting with big solid patches invaded by sumptuous and deep red, these patterns are sometimes surrounded by spontaneously created colored stokes.
Lili Côme does not turn away from her literary past and even adds some sibylline messages including this sentence from the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, “I alone hold the key to this savage parade” to her narrative style, which is cunningly done. There is always a hidden structure, a secret symbolism, a performance, an outward gaze in her bright and chromatic displays. A worrisome geometry taking part in the World's chaos and coherence, underpins these architectural metaphors featuring fragile accidents.
Lili Côme can show while hiding; she can break a straight line and implicitly, with a touch of humor and a note of tenderness, reveal a story. Through her work, she maintains a dialogue between painting and color, as subtly as Jean Dubuffet wished to, so that the piece remains a question rather than an answer in her own eyes as in the viewers’.
Dane Mac Dowell, journaliste et critique d'art.
As a creative woman, it is really important that I express Life with uttermost respect. Beauty approaches and thus fascinates me. Beauty, imagination and skills enable me to convert reality into a poetic space. The issue of figurative versus abstract art is of no significance to me. I focus on expressing my ideas, not on choosing a type of representation.
I have painted figurative scenes as in my series on the "Circus", or still lifes. I have also created abstract painting as in the "Wonder Valley Landscapes" series or "Anatomy of a Mystery".
Lili Côme's world of love and gentleness
Some painters are poets and I have met one; Lili Côme, unseizable, just like her pieces, like genuine artists who do not unveil easily.
Her canvas oil paintings, real flying butterflies decipherable by the us, inhabitants of this Earth, a funny world with its airy houses, floating residents, trees coming out of bedtime stories, tricycles and rainbows.
Her whole work is made of subtly delicate variations, her colors evoke happiness and the artist color palette is never hesitant because as an experimented plastician artist, she knows how to apply and create incandescent lighted zones or on the opposite, more discreetly melt into the evanescent paleness of a merely imaginary Western landscape.
Lili Côme's dreamlike world enhances a metaphysical dimension of amazing plenitude. The great freshness of her joyful scenes reveals the profound happiness of a lost paradise, that of childhood and of the purest innocence.
In this peaceful and pacified world with no conflicts, Lili Côme's painting is paradoxically of great depth because she unconsciously let the Chagall’s aesthetics emerge and the hidden world of the past come to life again. The world of the exiles or of the dreamers who are always elsewhere, else whether, living in a world they don't fit in and escaping through dreams towards new spaces.
Lili Côme takes us on a journey and her painting acts like soft therapy because she expresses herself as a poet, always full of delicacy in her gesture. She composes life again with a unique sensitivity, every single element finding its place on the canvas in an interlacing of extraordinary shapes. One might think that everything is upside down, disorganized, but each detail has been thoroughly thought, each character being at the right place in a constant thematic world. A unique poetical continuity is generated by her works, like a novel to be read as a whole in order for each sequel to be understood or like Bach’s suites following a rational structure.
Lili Côme's paintings’ poetry does not rule out a rigorous and architectural work; her spontaneous pictorial gesture is always self-controlled.
In search of perfection in painting and with her creative ability, not only in terms of the materials used but also regarding ideas made into poems, Lili Côme plays her part in the writing of Art History.
Her paintings do not reveal a new world but rather a remake of the present world that she puts into the big washing machine of her thoughts as she modifies, recycles, magnifies it, making it so much more beautiful and enchanting that the viewer would be caught willing to live inside her painting and never leave.
The moving sincerity of this pictorial series is pure poetry. Lili Côme discovers a neo surrealistic writing and never lets herself be confined into an official aesthetic trend for she freely dislikes boundaries that she finds useless and absurd. Rimbaud's expression is quite appropriate “one must be absolutely oneself”, nothing but oneself without giving way to the demagogic ease of new fashions and trends in contemporary art. She accordingly stays away from a morbid movement in today's art that compromises any hope of resourcing and amazement in regards to the values of life.
What is beauty? It is precisely neither in the academic classicism nor in this new nihilism but in an inner quest that the artist finds the magnificence of lines, of shapes, in a clever combination of colors creating a light emanating from the stars. This is the artist’s most beautiful conquest, conquest of an unexplored world, of a new continent, the ex nihïlo discovery of a new reality coming out of her own world where the unconscious exists by the conscious. This world is full of extremely kind characters that wish us well and invite us on a merry go round of magic.
Captivated Art lovers can only react positively to this fabulous will to enter the painting, as they come out astounded altered but happy.
Patricia Torjman,DPhil, Art Critic
A POETIC WORLD - AN INNER JOURNEY
"A writer is a world trapped inside a person" (V. Hugo). The same can be said about painters, so for thirty years, I have been creating a poetic and colorful universe inhabited by peculiar characters and imaginary landscapes.
I am not creating according to modern art trends; I am exploring my own world, because I am really convinced that an inner journey is the only positive answer to face turmoil and confusion. I am a wide-awake dreamer and, though I am a part of it, I am living away from the art world and its economic and strategic demands…My creative process brings these dreams of mine to life through painting and objects.
My journey towards authenticity and my desire to grow as a human being lead my creative process into
a spiritual inner journey which should appeal to keen art lovers.