Heather Chontos

La Tour-Blanche-Cercles, France

As a painter, I work impulsively, harnessing the power of gestures to create instinctive compositions that combine bold colours, dynamic marks and organic forms. Rather than using brushes or other traditional tools, I apply paint with scraps of plastic, such as hotel-room key cards, or draw and scratch at the surface using the paint tube itself. The fine edges of my chosen instruments allow me to draw long, penetrating lines and create large, highly saturated fields of colour.

Many of my paintings have a sculptural quality, thanks to the way I build up layers. I often integrate extra materials into my work to create an effect of relief, stitching extra pieces of canvas onto the surface or incorporating sections of paper with paint or glue. These different materials allow for multiple levels of colour and saturation.

For my sculptures, I start with discarded pieces of wood and transform these into unexpected, biomorphic shapes reminiscent of those found in my paintings. I use tools such as chainsaws or planers to enact this metamorphosis – an approach that recalls my use of plastic or glass in the two-dimensional pieces. In both cases, my hands-on method enables me to be as physically and emotionally connected with my work as possible, empowering me to turn the image in my mind’s eye into a reality.

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