The art of Julian Farade is all about human dramas. Yet, in his paintings, drawings or embroideries, we can hardly see any humans. His works are rather populated with fantastic creatures, like agitated crocodile- or bird-like monsters. Sometimes they appear alone, but more often in pairs or in a group, rushing chaotically or struggling with each other. These imaginary battle scenes are usually set in schematic interiors or exotic landscapes, indicated by simplified houses, mountains, palm trees or a horizon line; sometimes the action takes place in entirely abstract colour areas.
Despite its narrative aspect, his art is not purely representational. Like many painters of his generation, Julian Farade explores a territory between abstraction and figuration. The roughly drawn angular figures blend with each other but also with the surrounding environment, colliding into a dynamic colour mass. Sometimes the beasts are so stylized that we can only guess their configuration by putting together a set of clues - protruding body parts visible here and there, like disproportionate limbs, sharp gaping jaws, or terrified bulging eyes. He paints and draws vigorously with crude dynamic strokes, often outlining the figures and objects with black oil pencil or paint. He seems to have found his pictorial formula by combining gestural expressionists fervour with primitive figurative language, which could recall Willem de Kooning’s « Women » and artworks by Asger Jorn or Karel Appel.
Alongside his fascination with Expressionism, Figuration Libre or Bad Painting, spiced up by his interest in Jung’s archetypal theory, CoBrA movement is a major inspiration for Julian Farade. He shares its playfulness and experimental spirit, its use of vivid colours and grotesque animal images to express by similar pictorial means a whole variety of human inner dramas. In his oeuvre, he seems to exploit the concept of human animal, wittily depicting people’s animalistic impulses and desires. The power of his images lies in their spontaneity which, in its turn, characterizes both the subject he is dealing with and his very method of doing. Indeed, Julian works quickly, minimizing the time interval between thinking and making, as if he is trying to find the shortest possible way to project emotions, to capture them instantly in their fullness and freshness. Thus, he transforms his bodily energy into noisy turbulent scenes which radiate the feeling of panic, irritation and fear.
Having a very painterly approach to drawing, Julian Farade takes turns in applying oil paints, greasy oil pastels and crayons on paper. As a result, his works appear to be a sort of hybrids between drawing and painting. He truly enjoys choosing his colours, and putting them together, so, in some sense, his work is also about colour. His use of bold palette misleads us at times. Through the delicious combinations of pinks, yellows, or quite overwhelming orange hues, we see distorted bodies as dancing figurines and dramatic situations as joyful carnival processions or maybe parties. But we should look past the seductiveness of colours to get to the otherwise quite gloomy meaning which the depicted scenes seek to convey.
The exhibition at Podgorny Robinson gallery features a series of recent embroidered works. This is a new medium for him that he decided to explore when he suddenly lost his studio space and could not work with oil paints and large canvases anymore. He started making these artworks in his Parisian apartment, the only work place that he had at that moment, then continues them in New York where he moved several months ago. So the idea of ‘homemade’ associated with traditional textile practice - and in this case with embroidery -, takes a very literal sense here.