Master Works


Different chapters of the same story...

A Land that Resembles You
The Paintings of Aude Herlédan

An artist intuitively seeks out places with which her soul identifies. Aude Herlédan has made mapping that pilgrimage a lifelong practice. The energetic swoops and bowls of her paintings are topographies of her spiritual journey, mirroring the lifts and falls of a soul’s path: white cumuli mark elevations of consciousness in Floating (2019) and Equanimité (2015); black strokes locate the ley lines of a disquieted mind in Désordre (2017) and Contradiction (2017). Her canvases are records of physical continents and states of being—terrestrial and celestial territories through which she has traveled to create her body of work. 

As spiritual beings transcend borders, Aude moves fluidly among mediums. Her ink studies transmute into bronzes. In her paintings, strokes amass in waves, becoming sculptural. In the cover detail of Everywhere, we see the latter process magnified: depths of white material rise into three-dimensional surfaces. Her mixed-media work encapsulates the breadth of her mastery: Beginning with a panel of canvas or wood, she brushes oils and inks, dusts marble powder, and limns copper or gold leaf, layering method and material into radiant strata.

The palimpsest is a natural form for an artist deeply engaged with the textual. When I first met Aude, she was collaborating on an artist’s book with French poet Edouard Dor. Each week, she received from him a new poem, and retreated to her studio in Sologne to conjure a painting in response. Now, in her own book, she is in dialogue with Baudelaire, Wilde, and her father, TK, himself a poet. She refers to her incandescent series Blue Is the Color of My True Love as an “invitation to the voyage,” invoking Baudelaire: 

Child, Sister, think how sweet to go out there and live together! 
To love at leisure, love and die in that land that resembles you!
….There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.

Always traveling, always seeking, Aude’s choice for the epigraph of this book is a passage from Caspar David Friedrich, that 19th-century master of the interior landscape: “The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees within himself.” In Aude’s monograph, we have an atlas of those terrains. White Landscapes, Precious Land, Near & Far: In viewing these bodies of work, we simultaneously travel inward and outward—and discover that rather than at endpoints, it is on these voyages that we locate ourselves.  

Alisa Carroll - May 2020