“I am a painter,” says French artist Julien Eustache, “and defining that is to kill it.” Fittingly, Eustache’s paintings — combinations of acrylics and spray-paint, among other media — defy easy definition. They straddle the worlds of abstraction and representation, creating a world that mixes a brooding darkness with hints of light. And that balance is matched by the expressiveness of Eustache’s varied color palette. While blacks, reds and earth tones dominate many of his images, he balances those shades against whites, yellows and pastel blues. The resulting images are strikingly dramatic. An elemental battle seems to be playing itself out, with subterranean worlds set off against glowing skies, or shadowy human figures vibrating against their backgrounds.
While expressing his admiration for artists from Rembrandt to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Eustache is a proudly self-taught painter. He says that “painting has lost its identity, its purpose, because of progress and modernity” and he hopes to “fill this nothingness with sincerity.” He shows his works in streets and bars to reach those who might never enter a gallery, and their vibrancy gives them an energy and power that should attract many viewers.