Emilie Fantuz’s cityscapes combine thick, bold application with a striking sense of optimism. She builds undulating forms from bright, high contrast palettes to create new perspectives on familiar streets and buildings.
Our urban environments are built from dense materials of concrete, asphalt and steel. Fantuz rebuilds them on each of her canvases using palette knives to create layers of heavily applied impasto. She emphasizes nocturnal scenes where the bright, reflective, and colourful lights at street level stand out against the natural night sky. The figures in these scenes deepen the juxtaposition between the natural and the constructed. Their bodies, postures, and positioning in the composition tell of intimate moments of warmth within known surroundings. Fantuz softens the angles and forms of the streets and buildings, while emphasizing strong hues and tonal dynamics, drawing the viewer into a cityscape that resonates with the inner experience of her paintings’ figures. Accustomed to familiarizing herself with urban locales that can at first seem alienating, Fantuz defamiliarizes these noir, evening spaces in order to reveal their true nurturing potential.
Fantuz illuminates the essential character of buildings and locations in historical and contemporary urban settings. She also reflects the figures’ uniqueness within a dense population, observing their connection and the stories that are all around us. These are bathed in light bouncing from the sheened street surface as much as from the buildings’ windows.
Fantuz’ pieces share attention to the beauty of everyday moments suspended in time. Her meditations on taking pause - both in life and in front of her canvases - are an invitation to the viewer to do the same.