An enigmatic undercurrent runs through Chantal Maquet’s paintings. Usually working in series, the artist investigates her respective subject matter through the interplay of repetitions, variations, and deviations: an approximation to historical and current realities from her personal and extended environment, accompanied by various forms of alienation and defamiliarization. These include the iridescent color palette determined by strong complimentary contrasts, a dangerously seductive radiance that often runs counter to the pictorial content. The intersection of past and present, figuration and abstraction, the idyllic and the uncanny, as well as other contradictory moods and compositional principles contribute to this as well. Thus, Maquets figures and architectural structures, group depictions and individual portraits, urban and rural scenes, frequently realized on the basis of photographic source images, simultaneously have maximum presence and an otherworldly character.
For Maquet, painting is an instrument of exploration and of deeper perception in her local environment as well as on journeys through the world and through personal and collective history. Whether the artist’s paintings venture into history, into Suburban Paradises, into the dynamics of interpersonal interactions, or into the socio-political frameworks in which female role patterns and misogynous, racist, or other exclusionary modes of behavior are perpetuated: the artist’s consistent approach is to look behind the phenomena of everyday life and to address the trans-temporal impact of the past on the present. Only in the exact recognition of that which is, lies the possibility of a liberation from cultural clichés and constrictions. Maquet employs painting as a medium of inquiry that draws the dark sides of reality into the light.
Belinda Grace Gardner