We recently stopped by the studio of Mathieu Cherkit in Saint-Cloud outside of Paris a couple of weeks ago and got an exclusive peek at the new paintings he is working on for his upcoming solo show with Galerie Jean Brolly. Territoire (Territory) will be artist's 4th solo exhibition with the gallery since 2010. and will consist of 15 new paintings, some of which we witnessed in the making.
The story behind Cherkit's highly textured and atmospheric images is a very simple and personal one - the artist paints his direct surroundings, his "territory". Living in his family home on the outskirts of Paris, his studio is located in the backyard of the house, surrounded by a lush garden full of greens. The old house and everything around it is full of little gems that have some sort of significance or meaning for the artist. Starting from his studio and the various souvenirs and memorabilia inside, his wife's studio just next door, over the garden where toys of their kid are laying around, to the house itself which hides endless corners and details that become timeless when depicted on canvas. Not strict on perspective or depth, the images have an irresistible naive feel to them and are more focused on representing the entire space on a flat surface.
During this process, Cherkit layers a large amount of paint on the canvas, often creating an additional surface on the edges and regularly playing with the way colors interact with each other. The copious amount of oil is left to interact with outside conditions, forming unpredictable textures and anomalies which are then incorporated as into the final outlook of the painting. The entire idea of this particular show is to allow the observer to come very close to his "territory" by portraying it in detail on these 15 new paintings. —Sasha Bogojev