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ONE COUPLE, TWO VISIONS

Although the artists France Jodoin and Kevin Sonmor are married, live together in Newfoundland, and paint daily in nearby studios, each sees the world differently. Yet, both of their responses to what they observe and experience and ultimately reveal on canvas complement one another, as evidenced in their joint show, “Nomads, Players and Saints,” at Atlanta’s Pryor Fine Art (September 24–October 24, with an artists’ reception on opening night).

Jodoin, whose body of works is included in major museums, including Montreal’s Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts and Paris’s Galerie Theo de Seine, as well as private collections in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, paints in a style at once figurative and abstract. “I seem to need ambiguity and contrast,” she says, “I want a painting to be representative enough that a viewer can see, for example, a figure in a dress, or a boat on the water, but at the same time I’m not interested in trying to recreate a scene.” The works featured in the show at Pryor Fine Art exactly reveal this penchant. Jodoin often names her paintings after notable lines of poetry, both as actual references to what may be depicted but more importantly as a way to establish multiple meanings and interpretations for her works, as is typical of poetry. Boats in the harbor, people on city streets, bathers wading in the surf, still-lifes of flowers in vases, all are discernible — but not completely. A viewer remains engaged, eager to keep looking and exploring what she has depicted on canvas or on panel.

Sonmor, too, revels in revealing what is real in the world — horses at gallop, still-lifes that harken to those of the Dutch Golden Age, daybreak — but also does so with nuance and interpretation. He himself likens his bold, colorful works to the kind of imagery and techniques practiced by Courbet and Van Gogh. As for his decided fascination with horses in motion, he says, “My interest in equestrian painting comes from Géricault, more recently the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, while my still-lifes are influenced by Caravaggio and the Flemish still-life painters. In every way, I’m the quintessential studio painter.” Tiffany Hayes, the gallery director of Pryor Fine Art comments how “Sonmor’s work captures the feeling of Northern European still-lifes and vanitas studies, but carrying a distinctive contemporary edge.” Sonmor has been featured in group and solo shows at venues that include the State University of New York at Plattsburg, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and the Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts.

It is difficult to say whether Jodoin and Sonmor directly influence each other, but what is clear is that there is a harmoniousness, a commonality when seeing their works in the same venue. As gallery director Hayes emphasizes, “Together they create engaging poetic encounters.”

Pryor Fine Art, 764 Miami Circle, Suite 132, Atlanta, Georgia; 404-352-8775, pryorfineart.com

Image 1: Where you Must Move in Measure Like A Dance, by France Jodoin, oil on linen, 48x48
Image 2: The Sifted Golden Sun Comes To Us Blue, by France Jodoin, oil on linen, 48x48
Image 3: 150 Portraits: The Melody by Kevin Sonmore, oil on linen, 48x60
Image 4: Merisi In Black And White by Kevin Sonmore, oil on linen, 40x40