Madeleine Paternot is a Swiss-American artist whose specialty is painting chairs in the most abstract-expressionist manner. Her brushy treatment of all manner of seating amounts to a metaphorical self-portrait, in which style, sensuousness, and a love for the New York School combine in the most original fashion. As an artist who is given to the still-inspired textures of urban experience in Manhattan, and as someone committed to the lush brushwork and messy expressiveness of a painting manner that refuses to die in this city, Paternot has embarked on a journey that uses articles of furniture as stand-ins for a psychic complexity in need of objects to communicate both the artist’s ideas and her feelings. Desire plays a significant part in her art--the chairs are painted with close to erotic abandon. Indeed, the title of her series is called “The Sex Life of Chairs.” It is more than difficult to invest an inanimate object such as a chair or a sofa with sexual feeling, but Paternot overcomes her obstacles by sheer will--and by the exigencies of her talent. But his does not mean that she sacrifices her cultural sensibility in favor of high porn--something nearly impossible to pull of when one is painting chairs rather than people! So there is a comic quality to these objects of desire, which are both obscure and transparent in their imaginative presence.
Paternot was educated in America beginning at the undergraduate level. In 1995, the artist received degrees in cultural anthropology and French literature from Vassar college. A year later Paternot studied product design at the Art Center School of Design in Vevey, Switzerland. In 1997-98, she studied for and received a Higher National Certificate in Fine Arts, at the Kensington and Chelsea College in London. More than ten years later, in 2009, Paternot studied at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League, both located in New York City. A year following her 2009 summer painting residency sponsored by the School of Visual Arts, she repeated the program. Beyond her extensive education, the artist has also been collected by a number of institutions and people, including the Kings Park Hotel in Verbier, Switzerland; Art We Love in New York City; DN Capital Investment in London; Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, the former Swiss ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi; and the Christina GiLardoni Collection in Milan.
Additionally, Paternot has a well-established exhibition record. The artist has shown solo at the Mews42 Gallery in London (2008), the Arte Real Gallery in Milan (2007), Espace L’Hommond in Paris (2006), and the Atelier Le Pic in Lausanne (2005). Selected group shows include works seen in the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park in Verbier (2011); in “Desire over Taboo” (2010) at the Poligono Gallery in Maribella, Spain; in Gallery Benoit in Boston; and in “Art Gare 2007,” in Lausanne and Geneva. Records show that that the press has been regularly supportive of her work--the interested reader can find articles on the Verbier show, presented in 2013; a group of articles published in 2012, including a piece occurring in The Huffington Post, entitled “The Rarified Resident” and written by Jonathan Wright; and Donna Dodson’s “A Portrait of the Artist as the Global Entrepreneur,” published by Global; Business; and also a French article written by Charles Par Meroz, for Le Novelliste: “Verbier: La sculpture contemporaine prend de l’altitude.” These articles document Paternot’s encompassing exhibition history, which has exposed her to audiences both in American and Europe. Paternot’s art is immediately accessible, but it is also richly endowed with a vivid sense of painting history on both sides of the Atlantic, giving it a depth that is more than merely popular. The shows she has participated in and the writing covering her art give the interested viewer a good sense of the artist’s flair for imagery and energetic presentation of her art.