What appears immediately visible in the recent works of Vanessa Thyes is the idea of a still undefined becoming that manifests itself in the development, increasingly analytical, of the compositional structure of her paintings. More specifically, it is found in the formal construction of the surface, in the tonal experimentation with colors through the monochrome and in the search for a particular light. An ongoing process understood as the expression both of a new attitude towards the pictorial composition, and of a different vision and use of the proper elements of painting.
If in her past as a fabric designer, painting had an instrumental function, now, as can be seen in more recent works, painting becomes the main object of her research; an alternation of reflections, so to speak rational, and those more specific to painting itself. An aesthetic experimentation, where the object does not depend exclusively on an idea of taste but on its expressive-communicative function. All this, as the artist often states, in search of a more specific definition of one’s work and of a personal and individual artistic dimension.
The Swiss artist, in fact, concentrates her work on a few linguistic elements, leaving to them the interpretation of her reserved, but also free and dynamic, interpretation of the sign, the surface and the light / color.
Her mark appears immediate but at the same time reflective and intense, light and decisive, vigorous and delicate, expressing a controlled gesture; a repeated gesture, fluid and uninterrupted in reaching a synthesis, a point of equilibrium, a state of saturation so that the same surface can be transformed into a pictorial field. It is through this constant modus operandi that Vanessa Thyes’ sign is materialized. Although she remains totally focused on an initial thought, she abandons herself to the becoming of her movement, reflecting herself in it and thus materializing that formal balancing that stimulates her painting. Only through a meditative attitude together with a compositional freedom, does one feel the need, in the folds and layers of the material thus configured, for the surface, while maintaining its own expressiveness, to find a counterweight, its “finite” stability so that it becomes the place of color and light.
With the exhaustion of the propulsive force of the gesture and the consequent formal balance appears the awareness, on the part of Thyes, that that surface cannot but converse with color (absorbing it and incorporating it) to give rise to a particular light in constant dialogue with the underlying reality.
Thus is created a process of contamination between signs and transparencies, between color and matter, between layers and signs, between gloss and opacity. Thus, with each layer of paint the painting is enriched in its appearance, light and immaterial thanks to the vibrations that the same color produces in the irregularity of the surface itself. A source of light that is confronted with color, with veils, with the very intensity of the brushstroke, with the resurfacing of the white paste on the surface, in the shading that light produces as it changes. A dynamic apparently incompatible with any a priori programming but at the same time expression of a precise chromatic balance, similar to the verses that pursue metrics certain of their being poetry, but on the other hand reject rhyme in search of consonance or dissonance.
The dialogue between color and surface becomes gradually more intense and free, more immediate and more independent according to whether the colors are warm or cold, bright or opaque. The work of Thyes thus highlights the element of closure, a sign or a line that suspends any immediate projection. A sinuous, dashed shape, chromatically superimposed (almost an illusory dripping) to close the pictorial action. An indefinable form in its structure, apparently suspended in the dynamic play of signs, color, light and shadow: the last motif that exhausts the possibility of further development. It is only an apparent moment since, like all monochromes, those of Vanessa Thyes arouse new expectations that are manifested in subsequent works, in which the various colors are the expression of an inner emotional state.
September 2018 Diego A. Collovini