Nathalie Deshairs

Née en 1964 à Grenoble.(France). Etudie à l’école des Beaux-Arts d’Aix-en-Provence de 1983 à 1987. Enseigne à l’école d’Arts Plastiques de Menton de 1993 à 2004. Depuis 2004 se consacre exclusivement à la peinture.
La réflexion de Nathalie Deshairs est une quête de légèreté, d’apesanteur de l’âme délestée de ses contingences terrestre…âme libre ?… elle nous offre à travers ses œuvres une succession d’instants reflétant divers états de cette quête et en filigrane celle de notre propre humanité…
Coloriste, la couleur est chez Nathalie Deshairs, transparente jamais opaque, comme une pensée, une évanescence…
Grâce à sa matière si particulière, ses lignes qui dansent, s’entrelacent, s’envolent et dessinent un corps en équilibre, elle nous transporte dans un lieu insaisissable, dans un espace entre ciel et terre entre spiritualité et matérialité.

« Nous ne sommes pas seulement corps, ou seulement esprit; nous sommes corps et esprit tout ensemble. »
George Sand extrait de « Histoire de ma vie »
Dès son émergence, l’art entretient une relation exclusive avec le corps. Les empreintes de mains de Lascaux nous parlent déjà du corps, de l’esprit et de l’art. L’art comme intermédiaire vers l’invisible, entre l’intériorité profonde de l’être et l’ailleurs… Les liens qu’entretiennent l’art et le corps sont à jamais indéfectibles.
De ce point du vu, Nathalie Deshairs est une artiste qui s’inscrit dans la tradition tout en la revisitant de façon singulière. A l’ultime frontière du figuratif et de l’abstraction, les œuvres de Nathalie Deshairs évoquent le corps dans toute sa « vitalité ». Pour Nathalie Deshairs, le corps est obligatoirement en mouvement, un corps en vie ne signifiant pas uniquement la physicalité mais aussi la fulgurance de la vie de l’esprit. Nathalie Deshairs nous entraine dans son tourbillon d’entrelacs où corps/esprit, formel/informel, pesanteur/apesanteur, sont en parfait équilibre et harmonie. L’Extérieur et l’Intérieur sont enfin réunis pour « figurer » l’élan vital.
Cohérence du fond et de la forme, le mouvement est aussi présent dans la matière picturale même. En s’approchant plus près de la toile, nous pouvons imaginer, sentir la gestuelle de Nathalie Deshairs par l’emploi de la coulure et de la giclure. La matière picturale devient énergie pure.
Les textures utilisées par Nathalie Deshairs nous rappellent la douceur de la peau avec son jeu de transparences et de nuances subtiles… Epiderme mat et délicat pour les dessins à l’encre et à la pierre noire. Epiderme satiné et translucide pour les peintures. Les lignes noires entrelacées, telles des veines, sont le « centre névralgique1 » des œuvres de Nathalie Deshairs. Nous les sentons bouger, se métamorphoser, comme si l’œuvre était devenue créature vivante et autonome. Tel un rhizome, les lignes nous donnent la sensation de se propager librement sur les murs…
De tout temps, les artistes ont été fascinés par le défit de donner mouvement et vie à leur création. Tout comme Aphrodite donnant la vie à Galatée, Nathalie Deshairs réussit ce pari impossible.
Sophie Gastal pour Bogéna Galerie
1 expression empruntée à Katharina Kolb in « Nathalie Deshairs – Peintures et dessins » – juillet 2009

Nathalie Deshairs was born in Grenoble, France in 1964. She studied in the school of Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence. She also taught at the school of Arts Plastiques of Menton. Since 2004 she has dedicated her time exclusively to painting. The work of Nathalie demonstrates a quest of lightness, weightlessness, and a soul relieved of her earthy contingencies … a free soul. She offers through her art a succession of moments reflecting various states of her journey and an implicitly into our own humanity.
Nathalie is a fine colourist. Her use of color is transparent, never opaque, like a thought, an evanescence.
Thanks to her special techniques, the lines dance, intertwine, draw the body in perfect balance, and it takes us to an unsuspecting place. In a space that is between heaven and earth as well as between spirituality and materiality
“We are not just body or mind alone; we are body and mind together.”

George Sand, The Story of my Life

Since its beginning, art has maintained an exclusive relationship with the body. The handprints in the Cave of Lascaux already reveal the body, the mind and art: art as a mediator for the invisible, between
the profound interiority of beings and what is elsewhere… The ties between art and the body are indefectible forever.
From this point of view, Nathalie Deshairs is an artist respectful of tradition while reinterpreting it in singular fashion. On the ultimate boundary of representation and abstraction, her works evoke the body in its full ‘vitality’. For Nathalie Deshairs, the body is necessarily in motion, since a live body does not mean physicality alone, but also the searing intensity of the living mind. Nathalie Deshairs takes us into her whirlwind of interlaces with a perfect balance and harmony of body/mind, formal/informal and weight/weightlessness. Exterior and Interior are united at last to ‘illustrate’ vital energy.
For coherence of form and content, movement is also present in the pictorial material itself. A close look at the canvas leads us to imagine and feel gestures through the use of colour and spattering.
The pictorial material becomes pure energy.
The textures used remind us of the softness of skin with its play on transparency and subtle nuance: delicate matt epidermis for ink and pierre noire drawings; satiny translucent epidermis for paintings.
Intertwined black lines, like veins, are the ‘nerve centre’1 of the works. We can feel them move and metamorphose as if the work had become a living creature on its own; like a rhizome, the lines seem to propagate freely on the walls…
In all times, artists have been fascinated by the challenge of instilling life and movement to their creation.
Just as Aphrodite gave life to Galatea, Nathalie Deshairs succeeds in this impossible wager.

Sophie Gastal for Bogéna Galerie

1 an expression drawn from Katharina Kolb in Nathalie Deshairs – Peintures et dessins – July 2009

If Sophie Rocco’s paintings suggest the wild dream of an asceticism of matter or that of the flight in a space free from gravity, Nathalie Deshairs’ works, with a disconcertingly obvious virtuosity in her evocation of the passage from a state of heaviness to a subtle state, accomplish that dream.
One feels that she has experienced that transmutation intimately, as if for her the myth of Hercules turned into a swallow were absolutely not a myth but rather one of the possibilities offered by our bodies, simply often ignored by our souls, too earthbound by gravity. Her paintings thus become the obvious answer to the question of Paul Valéry, the poet. Yes, she says, the myth of Hercules turned into a swallow exists, and my gift lies in offering you a pictorial transcription of that miracle.
No doubt this reflects a concrete experience of dance. The experience of the body feeling its wings growing in the euphoria of controlled gestures, of the body irradiated by cosmic rhythms, expanding so much it stretches to the limits of the universe. She has a gift for communicating the obliteration of the limits of individuation, the entanglement of internal and external, left and right, top and bottom, surface and depth. What magic is it that allows her to make matter transparent as well as intoxicating?
She uses mainly oils. Everything starts with a coalescence of various materials laid on her canvas before being covered, once their surface is dry, by layers of transparent oils. The rest is expertise, alchemy, a light touch or a more forceful way of sanding the layers in order to reveal the structure of the background, which gives the work its strengths, its dynamic effects, its moving contrasts. The evanescent matter has to become a whirling energy mixing all things in the fire of a trance.
The shapes in Nathalie Deshairs’ works remind us of whirling dervishes. They appear more mystical than dreamlike. The soul is awakened when the body is abandoned to turbulences in the air where multipolar eddies dissolve the boundaries between earth and sky, soul and body, sameness and otherness. Dizziness is overcome, silhouettes are swept into a planetary dance, tipping in a perfectly controlled manner. Time is suspended as the elements take part in the great cosmic dance, orchestrated by the divine breath. The dynamics of the paintings communicate a heady euphoria where connections come about and where the joy of communing with nature is revealed.
Heads are like rhizomes or plant bulbs, whose ligaments spread out in a vaporous matter. She draws landscapes which are either phantasmagorical or the evocation of the roots of heaven. The fine lines, the colours melting into one another, seem to stop time in a kind of ecstasy exuding the juices of its pleasure in the blurring of boundaries and the multiplication of beings. What a reward it is, at the very edge of the body’s transport into the great cosmic motion, that this neuronal seizure should open the doors of eternity! The movement is crystallized in the silence of meditation and the ecstasy of soaring. That moment of grace we can never hold onto for long, an exceptional image in a breathless body of work where movements are anything but steady.
One example of this is the torso, like the trunk of a tree whose ramifications extend into infinity, linking everything in a universal accord. Forces are exchanged, gaps of transparency going through the heart of masses. They then vanish, flashes of light tearing the darkness or making the daylight vibrate.
This fervent celebration of bodies sometimes loses all moderation and explodes in colourful transparencies – red, yellow and orange – contrasting with the preference given to tonal shades of grey.
Are they traces of hubris or supernatural glory?
Paul Valéry wrote in Soul and Dance: ‟That body in its bursts of vigour offers me an extreme thought: even as we demand of our soul many things for which it was not meant, and we require of it to illumine us, to prophesy, to divine the future, adjuring it even to discover the God, even so the body… wishes to attain to an entire possession of itself, and to a point of glory that is supernatural… But our body fares as does the soul, for which the God and the wisdom, and the depth demanded of it are, and can only be, moments, flashes, fragments of an alien time, desperate leaps out of its form”.
It is these outbursts that Nathalie Deshairs’ paintings show. But it would be sacrilegious to talk of despair. The walker, the dancer, the gymnast know from experience that heavy, earthbound bodies do not understand. Unfortunately for them, they don’t know that salvation starts with the feet and becomes a cerebral orgasm. Those who are drenched in that pleasure do not mind that it is fleeting!
Nathalie Deshairs’ works make this evidence perceptible. She sings the body’s prodigious capacity for flying and carries us away in a waltz of waves where mass becomes dematerialized.
Spinoza said, “no one has yet determined what the body can do”, and Nietzsche was astonished at how little we wonder at our bodies. Yet don’t our most sublime thoughts depend on our cerebral machinery? Neither of these writers was foolish enough to try and separate mind and body.
“He who has a body capable of a great many things has a mind whose greatest part is eternal” stated Spinoza, and Nietzsche did not hesitate to say that “soul is only the name of something in the body”.
Here, the artist breathes new life into these intuitions; she restores to our memory the incredible resources of the body and invites us to be grateful. But she goes further. Relying on a very modern intuition, she shatters the appearance and the consistency of matter, to take it back to its ultimate truth. Energies flow, waves undulate, molecules dance and at the heart of this cosmic mayhem, is the soul, the soul at the height of joy.


Artist's Artworks