Éric Antoine

Éric Antoine photo ABODES (solo) San Francisco
Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco
210 post street - San Francisco

Éric Antoine: Abodes
Dolby Chadwick Gallery is thrilled to announce Abodes, an exhibition of recent work by French
photographer Éric Antoine, on view for the month of April.
The show’s titular series Abodes speaks to how inextricably linked Antoine’s work is to his home and memories. Different configurations of numbered boxes represent the artist’s past residences, which begin and end in the secluded forest of France’s Alsace region. Within the expansive wooded landscape, Antoine developed his intense fascination for trees, documenting their lives through his anthropomorphic “tree portraits”. Continuously returning to the same arboreal sitters, Antoine’s images illustrate the passage of time.
Much attention has been brought to Antoine’s use of the archaic wet collodion process, one of the earliest forms of photography. However, his images are far from nostalgic: “I don't use the medium because it's something old. I use it because it's the sharpest, most organic material process. What’s important to me is the deep black and shimmering silver.” Moreover, the fluidic medium affords Antoine the ability to render his more abstracted works in the same manner as his paintings. For the Shore series, the artist deftly manipulates the flowing emulsion to create abrasions that give dimension and movement to the water within these somber vignettes.
In keeping with his modern approach to an antiquated medium, Antoine explores the present though a more classical use of symbolism. The development of his unique visual language is a combination of adopting historic visual motifs and embracing what symbols comes naturally. Followers of Antoine’s work will recognize particular recurring elements (a pile of sand, an open book, a black ball) appearing in the Cerveaux (brains) series, a collection of still lifes featuring various curios nestled within stacks of weathered papers. These “mental maps” function as portraits, with disparate components combined to chronicle the life of a specific individual. Here, we see historical strata not as tree rings, but as wood in its final form.
Perhaps the most significant element of Antoine’s iconography is the white orb, which made its first appearance in 2017 and has since become a through line in his imagery. In Useful Lies XI, the sphere rests on the bank of the river La Magel, with its glow offering some solace in the enveloping dark forest. Located only a few paces away from the artist's home, La Magel is a scene that has been lovingly recorded by the artist for years. The setting is a testament to his repetitive process and love for capturing the beauty and evolution of the familiar. “If you don't travel, time will make you travel.”
In the exhibition’s principal series, La Forme, we see the orb become the sole subject. The series largely contributes to Abodes’ standing as the gallery’s first exhibition of Antoine’s without the human form. Within La Forme’s highly minimal plates, the viewer is left only with the essence of photography: light and optics. In shooting La Forme, Antoine puts on full display what viewers have been transfixed by for years: process. “La Forme shows the lens, it shows the light, it shows the process.” As “photos of nothing”, the works serve as a study of the relationship between process and subject. As viewers instinctively search for figuration, the the “nothing” slowly becomes everything. One sees the moon, the sun, light in general. One sees life and the forces that provide it.
Éric Antoine was born in 1974, in Audincourt, France. Before devoting himself to his art, Antoine worked as a reporter for a number of years. His photographs have been exhibited extensively in France and across Europe. This will be his third exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.

Ramie McDowell - March 2024

Éric Antoine photo ABODES (solo) San Francisco flyerabodes