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Stefani Longshamp

Born in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in 1961, Katy Le Blanc studied business and marketing in Utrecht and attended fashion design school “Charles Montaigne” in Amsterdam. Upon graduation, she started her career as a buyer for a chain of upmarket department stores travelling the world. She later pursued her career for a Dutch/Hong Kong Chinese textile company after she had moved to Hong Kong in 1990. Following the birth of her first son, she started a furniture business with another Dutch woman, The Antique Express, specializing in the wholesale of Chinese antique furniture. In 2000, she moved to Jakarta, where she changed the company’s business model, orientating it towards furniture design and production.

Over the past twelve years, Le Blanc developed an ongoing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy and studied Ayurveda and yoga, becoming an apprentice of an Ayurvedic “Vaidyar”. For several years she worked with dedication as an Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant, massage therapist and yoga-teacher. In 2017, during a difficult time in her life, she got to know psychotherapist and artist Eugenia Gajardo, who encouraged her to explore her creative side and introduced her to her art teacher, Iranian artist Ali Esmaeilpour. Under his guidance, Le Blanc developed her personal lyrical abstract style, which integrates paper, different forms of acrylic paint, poly-resin, gold and silver leaf, and her beloved flower motifs.


In 2017 she expanded the limits of her self-expression by exploring her voice and recording her first songs. It was Corinne Gibbons, who helped her on this path. She started singing in her early twenties, but never pursued it further. This time after several singing meditation sessions in a group, she started private sessions with Corinne, who step by step has been leading her to write and record her own songs. And with the help of Photographer David Rogers she explored photography as well, to accompany her songs with beautiful pictures of nature.


Her life definitely turned around after her burnout in 2015, but she now sees it as a breakthrough year in which her focus had to be changed.

Max Reinert
Weeping Willow, Multimedia on Canvas, 76

Work of Katy Le Blanc is linked to the tradition of Western Expressionist Informel painting, while it could also be considered as Contemporary Installation Art. These art styles are characterised by an immanent tension between an artist’s mind, his/her hand and the painting surface. As they become freer, brushstrokes, movements and gestures are explicitly shown on the pictorial plane through the traces of manual work. Such active rawness appeals to the subconscious mind, of the creator and the viewer alike, calling for an ongoing experimentation of an exciting visual journey. 


The Informel method usually starts with manual sculpting/ moulding/folding of the flat painting surface into the higher and lower relieves, while in Action painting vigorous paint brushstrokes or colour drippings are recorded in every part of the finalised composition. Both procedures are very expressive and intense. 


An almost muscular, and intrinsically physical tightness binds bits and pieces together in Le Blanc’s poetic universe. Her collages and assemblages are playful structures which are densely built by adding specific organic and nonorganic elements. Le Blanc manipulates this melange into a matrix to suit particularly chosen plastic patterns, procedure which she repeats whilst altering the texture into multiples of small constituents. They, in turn, follow what seems to be their predestined design on top of pictorial configurations. By adding colour, the multiple textured constituents intensify their 'communication', which, here and there, transform into dramatic visual bouts and yet, there is an inner, hidden logic we aren’t privy to.  This creates a calming harmony and we become eyewitness of Le Blanc's painting unfolding into a captivating aesthetic embrace: subdued lemon and golden yellows, delicate accents of turquoise, Parisian blue or olive greens resonate through multiple contrasts, reminding us of the powerful tectonics underneath painted surface. This extraordinarily dramatic, yet subtle sights, echo the early paintings by Tadeusz Kantor, the famous Polish Informel artist. 


During her work, as if in a pulse of Action painting, Le Blanc keeps her hands busy in an incessant ritual, turning her into a traveller on a metamorphic seamless journey. She works under the dictates of an omnipresent, all transcending Rhythm which vibrates through constant repetition of the similarly shaped forms. The Physical and Concrete are the imperative in Le Blanc’s method, (Katy drags, pushes, squashes, folds the paper, pieces of textiles, drips paint over dried leaves, flowers, face masks, etc.). This might look tormenting, but her treatment of the material does not turn brutal. On the contrary, her passionate sculpting is rhythmic, melodic, overprotective, yet immensely intense - as if brought about by her motherly instinct. 


Whichever assemblages we look at, and whichever of their parts, we can spot varying consequences of gestural dynamism involved in a whole system of kinetics morphing inside of the painting tissue. Such technique requires an incredible amount of careful concentration, hands being in full swing incessantly, coinciding with artist's own breath. Her paintings thus breathe with her in each and every minuscule segment. Shall we understand them as real entities rather than paper collages? 


We thus experience Le Blanc’s work as extremely Organic. As we breath, we witness an expansion of the Now which is an important facet of a Vedic stance. In the flow of the present moment we follow textural traces of painterly actions. We notice the bits and pieces in their unity, but questions are raised when we look at dry leaves and flowers… How shall we understand the physiological difference between the matter which is dead and one which appears alive? By using dried leaves and flowers only after they completed their life circle, the artist puts them in an aesthetic realm of NATURA MORTA. Mixed with other materials they serve as conspicuous reminders, our own Memento Mori. Maybe we need to decide for ourselves whether all living materials are vulnerable to decay as it seems their genetic substance lives on … So, is it only the angle of our perception which discerns life from death? Are these assemblages life frozen in time?  


We could relate Le Blanc expressiveness to the mesmerising creative process of Miguel Barcelo - both artists lead the spectator to question where the intensity of their artwork comes from… Art which is so natural, like a geological or biological episode. Did it happen purely by itself, without conscious intent? The best answer to this is that such eruptive creativity is a great polygon through which multiple layers of subconsciousness break through their inner crusts. In such cracking there is sound, in such sound there is pain, in such pain there is growth.... 


Although mostly abstract, some of Le Blanc’s paintings carry direct symbolic messages. Her recent work highlights the middle, a circle thickened by hundreds of worm-like shapes in coppery and dark brown tones, appear alive and moving, while being surrounded by symbolic rays pictured by used industrial hygienic masks. This assemblage is an obvious reaction to the pandemics: are we at the beginning of a new era, is this a Corona Solaris chart, which turned our lives around?  


Present in this but also in her other pieces, aspect of togetherness is a strong hallmark of Le Blanc’s opus. She aims to join all the particles in her assemblages. Together they flow in a trance like rhythm, they connect to each other, lean onto each other and would become insignificant if isolated from the whole. Togetherness and solidarity create unique and universal cooperation beneath the skin of all things, alive or dead. As Katy’s creative hand follows the rhythm of such greater principle, she invites us to join her in deep contemplation and empathy in order to discover primordial love behind all things shown and all things hidden. To understand this well, Le Blanc asks us to observe the singularity in the plurality, as she herself touched every single constituent of her compositions with great respect and care. Maybe then we will fully realise that each one of us is only a particle, unique and not repeatable, but still only an element of the Great Whole. We should take pride in our Uniqueness, but our Togetherness is to be cherished. 



To summarise, in viewing Katy Le Blanc’s paintings we feel they are authentic visual worlds, which  function independently from author’s conscious intent. They have grown into an artistic homeostasis, in which physical and material interlace with spiritual and psychological in the most concrete and organic way. Viewers are invited to maximise their senses rather than rationalise or judge. Through expressive pictorial directness we enjoy art as a phenomenon, rather than an achievement, and thus our intellectuality is lowered for the sake of pure emotions. As our modern ego recedes, more mental space is left for the challenging questions, which at first might confuse, but also liberate. One is certain that Le Blanc work will not leave us untouched. 



Milica Bravacic, artist 

M.A. in Visual Arts 

June 2020

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