After many years of nurturing artists in Australia – and in his native France – Vianney Pinon is having his first photographic solo exhibition. Human Nature opens at the Lone Goat Gallery in Byron Bay on November 6, and it promises to be a rare treat.
If you’re at all involved with the arts scene in the ‘Shire’, or even from further afield in the Northern Rivers, chances are you’ve had something to do with the wonderful atelier-style gallery and arts centre, Still @ the Centre, in Byron Bay’s industrial area.
Over the past decade or so, Vianney Pinon and his wife Sabine have been such enthusiastic supporters of the arts and most specifically of the artists in the Byron region, that it’s hard to imagine how it was before they came, bringing their wonderful range of imported arts materials, providing framing expertise, photoshop skills, an exhibition space, workshops and more.
What not so many people knew is that in their previous French lives, the couple had already established themselves as supporters of the Australian arts, back in 1996 when they started the Fil Invisble, (the Invisible Thread), a French publishing company devoted to bringing Australian and New Zealand literature to France, including Rosalie Ham’s The Dressmaker currently showing at the movies.
But now Vianney has fronted up with another skill – and his first solo exhibition, Human Nature, at the Lone Goat Gallery which opens next Friday night in Byron Bay is testament to his continuing commitment to explore art – in all its forms. For Vianney is nothing if not a renaissance man – he has PhD in cognitive psychology, and a degree in event management; he’s worked with a rock festival, as a cultural press attaché, and as actor, singer and dancer in local theatrical productions.
Human Nature is a body of work inspired by textures Vianney encountered while he and Sabine were living on their farm in Ewingsdale, running the gallery and parenting the couple’s two boys. “I collected photographs of the textures,” explains Vianney. “They became my memories of visited places, like postcards of artefacts. What I began to see in those photographs was the soul of human nature itself, reaching out from inside. Gradually I developed a way to create a bridge between photography and a style of painting, where I almost literally drew out the inner spirit from within the image.”
The titles tell the story – Under the rusted sand, What stuff am I made of, Heart’s door – Her, Earth man, Where are my wings? Drought…The giclee prints on enhanced matt photo paper are atmospheric, evocative and, in some cases, challenging. Why do we do what we do to the earth, they seem to ask – and of course it is an unanswerable question, but with these beautiful images Vianney is at least making us think.
In the past few years, since their boys have grown older on this side of the planet, and parents and siblings on the other side of the planet, the Pinons have taken to spending much more time in France where he and Sabine now run the Ateliers Fourwinds, an artist’s residency in the Alpilles, near Arles. Human Nature will be hosted in May 2016 at the Espace Van Gogh in Arles. It seems as if the invisible thread between ‘here’ and ‘there’ is as strong as ever.
The exhibition, Human Nature, by Vianney Pinon is on at the Lone Goat Gallery from November 6 – 18. Go to lonegoatgallery.com