Pictorial Warps, Paul Muguet's first solo exhibition at the gallery, comprises a selection of works that belong to three series he began in 2016: Sarapes, Petates and Tapetes. Paul Muguet takes up Mexican textiles motifs and re-contextualizes them in the world of art through painting. He aims to retrieve the visual identity of colors and designs from their popular context and transfer it to a different space in which new meanings can be generated according to the viewer.
Throughout his career, he has worked painting, ready-made and sculpture, developing what he has called "the concerns, interests, emotions that occur in the daily life of any person". According to Muguet, each culture has particular ways of living, and these are reflected on what he calls “material culture". The approaches to color in his works are discernible features between the different forms of experience.
In the Sarapes series, Muguet takes up the structure of the textile weave of the very typical sarapes of Saltillo in northern Mexico and applies it as the compositional principle of the paintings. This typically Mexican clothing is known for its vivid colors and its weave that reproduces tonal gradations symbolizing the sunrise and sunset in the fields.
The purpose of this series is to capture the viewer's attention through an active surface of great chromatic intensity that seems to be in movement and constantly changing. The artist uses different pictorial systems with the intention of creating a presence similar to the one who observes, emulating movement and stridency in the viewer.
In his own words, Muguet characterizes his work as intuitive; there is no strict rule or plan that guides his creative process. In the case of these series, he uses adhesive tape to interweave paint. The interweaving serves as a metaphor for manual labor and craftsmanship, as it is an exercise which result takes shape along the way. The act of weaving with color gives the artist endless possibilities to use different color palettes and generate diverse compositions. As for the formats, his works confront the viewer by their verticality and proportion that relates to the human body and the portrait to show the vitality that exists in the frontality between the work and the viewer.
In the same way that the sarape was chosen for its symbolic content in its motifs, as well as for the place it has in Mexican culture, the petate was chosen for its intrinsic symbolic and poetic functionality. We find the petate both in daily chores and in ritual events of Mexican communities. Today, it has become, in part, a decorative object in which artisans demonstrate their skills, and in which they continue to capture ancestral knowledge and imagery.
With the series Petates Muguet referrs to the act of weaving or interweaving, which has been used also as a metaphor for the social structure. By interweaving colors in different types of patterns, the artist obtains various vibrations and chromatic atmospheres that refer to the constant interaction of the components in a social unity.
The use of color is an autobiographical work, since it refers to Paul Muguet's French-Mexican heritage. On the one hand, the colors of the paintings generate a strong impact thanks to the fact that they are allusive to visual and striking Mexican culture; while the geometry and the use of primary colors -in some works- are the result of the influence of modern pictorial representations, such as Mondrian's neoplasticism.
In the third series, Tapetes, the rhombus is the main motif. In Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, tapestry rugs are made using the loom technique, and the rhombus is one of the recurring elements, since it is related to plow and ground fertility. The rhomboid patterns serve for a broad chromatic exploration that revisits the history of painting or uses bold color combinations to create an ambiguous surface that combines planes and depths.
Pictorial Warps covers a six year work focused on painting that revives symbolisms of objects that have accompanied people throughout their lives; those elements that the Mexican community has integrated as part of its cultural everyday life. The emphasis of these symbolisms falls on the use of interwoven colors that make up geometric patterns.
Muguet uses Mexican textile designs to produce visual impact. In this way, he creates essential and active surfaces that are in constant movement, which engages the viewer and allows him/her to generate new meanings.