Michel Brosseau was born in Nantes and has lived in Bordeaux for many years. Both cities are on the atlantic coast of France and have rich maritime histories, highlighted by prosperous trade with the West lndies in the 18th century « The scent of cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon still vaguely hangs in these ports today », says Brosseau. The French artist is known for his nautical paintings and draws inspiration from his childhood memories. « l strolled the docks between the sugar and rum warehouses », he says. « And l think it’ s this nostalgia for a traditional sea lifestyle that used to fascinate me and still does ».
Brosseau’ s education is atypical for a painter-he studied political science as an undergraduate and received a master’s degree in law. Although he painted during and after his years at school, he worked as a journalist and a political activist upon graduating. He could not stay away from his true passion for long, however, and eventually returned to painting full time.
From a young age, the sea captivated Brosseau. « My first paintings were devoted to maritime themes mixed with surrealism », he says. Paintings from his teenage years depict flying boats or parting waters .
As Brosseau developed, his style moved doser to realism. His oil paintings have a distinct lookgraphic and contemporary-that he uses to explore the philosophical implications of marine life. « The fascinating part of the sea is that it’ s a total and paradoxical universe », Brosseau says. « There is always the fascination with going out to sea and the anticipation of returning to port ».
While his style is consistent, Brosseau experiments with different techniques and themes. He rarely paints open seascapes and his canvases frequendy incude an1mate and inanimate symbols of the nautical world-toiling sailors, faded buoys with chipped paint,weather, … « Maybe I prefer the maritime places, objects, and artifacts of the sea culture to the sea itself because I can tame and control them », Brosseau says. At the heart of his work is an awareness of the austerity of life-at sea and ashore-and the different ways humaty reacts to nature.
Lavoir Vasserot, du 12 au 25 juillet 2018.