Kern’s artistic vision within her paintings detaches the viewer from the everyday reference of recognizable places and delivers indistinguishable landscapes, ones that are purposefully clouded to evoke a fading memory – a type of visual haze untouched by absolutes. By using a mixture of oil sticks, oil paint, and cold wax, the artist builds up a creamy, rich surface similar to encaustic. The suggestive representations are more of symbolic references– a tree here, a mountain there, but nothing is concrete.
The emotional response, and the subtle painterly gesture arrive at the viewer like a conjoined arrow, shot straight to the subconscious.
The artist’s choice of pastel color palettes seems to reinforce the quasi-crepuscular quality of the artwork.
Titles like Clamart, Montargis, Antibes, and La Mer reference cities in France and other European destinations. The artist lays the foundation to allow us a glimpse into the aspects of the geography that are influential in her aesthetic. However, one title is not like the rest. Pink. Here the artist sprinkles clues for the viewer to piece together. Overtly, the reference is tied to the distinctive shade that dominates the picture plane. But, in alignment with the other city titles, the urban reference has to be sought as it is clearly coded or perhaps only a curious coincidence. However, if Pink corresponds to the other titles, then we can permissibly read between the lines on this connotation. Known to the locals as La Ville Rose (The Pink City), after the pink stone used to construct many of the buildings, Toulouse is a cosmopolitan melting pot along the River Garonne. The title is ambiguous like the painting.
La Mer, a hazy cerulean painting is a mysterious abstract that suggests, and as the title translation indicates, is “the sea.” Masses rise up from the beryl-esque and transcendental brine. On the left and right, the undefined conglomerations evoke a painterly penumbra.
-Gabriel Diego Delgado, Rosenbaum Contemporary, 2018
Sandrine Kern's work is indicative of landscapes conjured by memory that communicate residual emotions to her viewers.
The thick surfaces of her paintings are built up through her unique alteration of a technique similar to encaustic. Instead of utilizing hot wax in her process, Kern combines oil sticks, oil paint, and cold wax to create a creamy, rich surface rifled with depth. She then further manipulates the surface through the reductive process of scraping away layers with a knife and solvents.
Kern places importance on the mood of each work by highlighting the surface luminosity through her use of a high contrast color palette. The highly suggestive representation of each natural element she depicts is void of details that define a specific tree, or a specific location. Instead, the paintings convey the essence of form but are still recognizably landscapes. For Kern, each painting represents the mood of a past moment, and contains a certain freedom of motion which keeps the work from appearing static.
-OK Harris Fine Art