I feel very compelled to write about Inès Longevial’s newest solo show after looking over  the career-spanning David Hockney monograph. In my years of corresponding with the Spring 2018 cover artist, we  never discussed him in our years of correspondence, but I sense a kinship in the desire to chronicle one’s life through paint. More and more, Longevial has turned inward with her works, in reflective, moody self-portraits that feel like entries to a personal dialogue. Before the sun sinks low is an exploration of color and memory that portrays a sense of longing in each figure.

History permeates the approach of the Paris-based painter, born near the border of Spain. Longevial echoes the European masters, predominantly males who dominated art history, but she has been able to create her own unique space,  perhaps the beginning of a new European art vantage point. Like Hockney, Longevial is a marvel with color, an eye she demonstrated so well in California at Chandran Gallery and HVW8, with sunset suffused backdrops captured while drifting off the Pacific Coast. She also paints wonderful, contemporary portraits that bear the weight  of European classics, bathing them with innocence, loss and longing rooted in memory. 

Ketabi Projects presents Before the sun sinks low in a large hangar-like space in Paris, presenting a mixture of Longevial’s larger oil works and smaller, essential oil works that provide a structure to the exhibition. Not tucked away as process works, Longevial has never shied away from her smaller meditations which become part of her solo shows but are often powerful portrayals of her feelings like fear and contentment. Such observations made of Longevial’s work during her pop-up in NYC with Chandran in 2019, are stunningly on display in Before the sun sinks low. That balance of the world crashing down amid subtle moments of peace and contemplation within can’t be measured by simple words. Longevial thrives within this balance, and like the great Hockney, building work  both  personal and o universal. —Evan Pricco