Pierre Marie Brisson’s inspirations and techniques: contemporary French painter, engraver and sculptor

The paintings reflect the artist – fragile yet powerful, delicate yet raw, enigmatic yet rich with depth - a strapping man, a man with a tender gaze, a generous bon vivant with virile yet precise hands, hands which breathe life into his instantly recognizable paintings, engravings and sculptures. Brisson’s artistic sensibility is that of a “sailor-artist” who stalwartly searches for the horizon with the wind in his sails. This French contemporary painter, engraver and sculptor never ceases to explore his artistic horizon.

Art and history through Brisson’s eyes

“These images remind us of something, a distant glimpse of a precious and gentle memory…” - Jean Rouaud, writer & winner of the 1990 Prix Goncourt.

A multifaceted artist: French contemporary painter, engraver and sculpter

Pierre Marie Brisson’s work is heavily influenced by his unique view of art and history. He has a penchant for and is inspired by primitive art and has a profound respect for the traditions and heritage that were passed down to him by the painters, draftsmen, sculptors and artists of past centuries. Pierre Marie Brisson is a multifaceted French contemporary artist who is adept in several different media, including painting, engraving and sculpture. He has made a name for himself in the lineage of celebrated masters, prolonging, perpetuating and honoring their history by bestowing his singular genius upon it.

Opening to the world

“Transpose the past to the present.” - Pierre Marie Brisson
From the very beginning of his career, his dreamlike and poetic paintings have transported the viewer on a voyage. Brisson stated, “A good painting is open to the world.” Brisson invites us on an exploration of his Mediterranean world – when he looks at it, it shimmers in his blue eyes.

Inspiring elements

“Pierre-Marie Brisson evolves with talent along a path which is unclassifiable thanks to his abundant and constantly changing work.” - Patrick-Gilles Persin, art historian and critic.

Creativity, talent and inspiration

The artistic filter

Creativity and talent are gifts, a means for transmitting one’s vision of the world. An artist is composed of acquired inspiration, whether this inspiration is found directly or indirectly, it passes through the artist’s filter and is reinterpreted through brush strokes and various techniques.

Brisson the archaeologist

Pierre Marie Brisson draws his inspiration from nature, which he infuses with his passion for history, art and archaeology. In his workshop or aboard his boat, he explores, appropriates, deconstructs and reinterprets the earth and the sea. Brisson is obsessed with the treasures that past civilizations have left behind, nestled just below our feet. Presenting a dynamic array of techniques, the French contemporary painter, engraver and sculptor recreates forms and textures that compel the viewer to recall the grace of ancient Rome and the mystical charm and the depth of a prehistoric fresco’s crumbling, grained texture.

The artist-sailor

Emerges from the sea

Ever since he moved to the Camargue in the South of France, the sailor-artist has developed and emerged; the sea became the focal point and overarching theme of his work. To this day, marine flora and fauna inspire him and his imagination comes to life when he looks out over the wide expanse of the Mediterranean from the deck of his boat, called the “San Francisco.” What lies beyond the horizon? Pierre Marie Brisson unveils his vision.

Brisson: an artist inspired by a quest for freedom

Brisson’s work is proof of the artist’s deepest inspiration, which is his never-ending search for freedom. He pierced the international art scene in the 1980s and today he saunters confidently through it. Brisson’s idea of liberty is to loose himself in a cobalt sky or an expansive garden brimming with symbols of purity and elegance.

Techniques, colors and textures

The static and the living

The rich tactile surface of his work is overflowing with rough, uneven and expressive textures. The French contemporary painter, Pierre Marie Brisson, masterfully combines various techniques – scraping, cutting and gluing – to create the effect of a timeworn, cracked surface, which is covered in creases and crevices. Using these techniques he juggles abstract formes and spectral silhouettes, the static and the living, the soul and the body.

“I have always been fascinated by frescoes and old crumbling walls. I build my paintings by superimposing paper over the canvas. Then come the colors, followed by human forms, landscapes, vegetation and other representations. I then transform this ensemble, which is too perfect, by creating imperfections. I rip and tear at it to create a used surface so that the piece can establish a foothold for itself in our past. I also use this technique in my paintings on paper.” - Pierre Marie Brisson

Technical mastery: engraving, collage, sculpture, scraping and painting

Following in the footsteps of Miro, Clavé & Coignard

Very early in his career, towards the end of the 1970s, Brisson was introduced to engraving at the Pasnic workshop. Pascal and Nicolas, the founders of this workshop, taught Brisson the carborundum etching technique using a specific process that was invented by Henri Goetz. By mastering this printmaking technique he was placed among a very select group of artists, following in the footsteps of Miro, Clavé and Coignard.

Brisson the explorer

Pierre Marie Brisson’s technical mastery allows him to play with surface texture. He uses different pieces of paper and natural materials such as sand or glue to search and explore texture. He attacks and tortures his work, giving it the patina of time. At first glance, the viewer must be filled with a feeling of discovery.

The writer Michel Butor stated the following: “He leaves us traces, splashes of paint and overlapping layers, however, the essential lies in his technique: scraping, seeking an ephemeral quality, like a meticulously excavated archaeological site, searching for ghosts hidden within the strata of these materials.”

The artist takes on color

In the early days of Pierre Marie Brisson’s career he stated, “Dare to use color,” not for its beauty but for its strength. In his Parisian studio located in a cellar - he painted, ripped, scrapped, glued, removed, etched and searched the multi-layered surfaces of his canvases in the manner of a creator. At that time, his palette was dominated by earth tone colors – shades of ochres and omnipresent browns. He favored vivid and muted velvety colors when creating the rich surface of crevices and creases that he dug into his canvases. Over the years, as he studied color his palette shifted and matured.

A rapidly evolving artistic transformation

Following this period in Paris, the French artist Pierre Marie Brisson moved, causing his art to evolve again. A great shift in his artistic sensibility took place during his travels in Japan, rapidly evolving once he moved to his farmhouse in the Camargue. His proximity to the sea and nature allowed him to glean a new vocabulary of inspiration as he relentlessly explored floral motifs, landscapes and gardens constructed with fragile forms and striking colors.

“Like Matisse, he uses color as a tool for revealing a hidden world rather than a representation of an objective vision. Because, like the Fauvists painters, Pierre Marie Brisson uses pure color as an emotional language, he is distinguished by his anti-naturalistic vision and his desire to escape the illusionist technique.”

  • Gilles Bastienelli, curator.

To this day, Pierre Marie Brisson uses a varied array of techniques, colors and textures in a way that is reminiscent of a master artisan who tenderly places his soul into the depths of his work, bringing vitality to the very materials which compose it.

Contemporary French painter, sculptor and engraver

The art world’s portrayal of the artist

Pierre Combescot & Donald Kuspit

The writer Pierre Combescot and Donald Kuspit, an art critic from New York, explores the French contemporary artist’s work:

“Pierre Marie Brisson – unclassifiable French painter, searcher for novel beauty – stretches his canvases with the promise of joy.

Revisiting classic themes (flowers, portraits, dancers), he paints a visual world where balance reigns with beauty and serenity. His work makes constant reference to art history. The magical texture of his canvases transform the surface, giving the feeling that time has passed.

It is certainly thanks to the evocative power of his technique, which is close to that of a fresco, that the painter is capable of instilling the viewer with doubt and meditation, leading us to see the irony in happy moments, destined to disappear.”

Robert Flynn Johnson

Robert Flynn Johnson, curator of the Achenbach Foundation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco:

"Throughout Brisson’s work, we find what Barthes called punctum. The artist combines various elements of life, which we have all observed at different times and places. Yet, except through his art, never before have they been experienced at a single time and place. These elements may include the rough surface of an ancient wall, the craquelure of old paint, the decorative pattern of wallpaper and woven fabric, and the minimal shorthand figuration done either through assurance of artistic sophistication or the inherent practice of archaic beliefs. Brisson’s art is very chic and new, yet timeworn and antique. It is avant-garde and ingenious, yet linked visually and spiritually to primitive sensibilities.”

“Hello Pierre Marie, may your paintings live on.”

How can we paint the portrait of an artist without leaving a quotation from one of his countless admirers?
The aforementioned quote was taken from Pierre Marie Brisson’s official Facebook page and sums up exactly what we would like to say to this artist.

Brisson News

When beauty interlaces with emotion
4 July 2018

When beauty interlaces with emotion

VIDEO “Pierre Marie Brisson: Meet the French contemporary artist”
28 June 2018

VIDEO “Pierre Marie Brisson: Meet the French contemporary artist”

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