Emilie Heurtevent was born in Paris in 1986 and lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Heurtevent studied history of art and calligraphy at Sorbonne University, Paris, graduating with a Master’s Degree in 2009.
Emilie Heurtevent’s painting-based practice combines an interest in landscape, the sublime and the natural life cycle of decay and renewal, concerns she describes as classical in tone in their relation to classical creation stories, such as that of Gaia (Mother Earth) in Greek mythology. Water is a recurring motif and her work often takes as its starting point the pictorial possibilities of the changing weather: darkening storms, wild squalls, the angle of driving rain, the vastness of a storm cloud. As in nature, her practice embraces change as essential to growth, a view reinforced by the often primeval restless energy in her sometimes calm sometimes explosive depictions of air, water and earth, elements which, although life-giving, can also be destructive.
The play of darkness and light within the landscape is of particular interest to Heurtevent, an element she uses to create dramatic, often large-scale chiaroscuro panoramas of abstracted geographies which might evoke, the surge of a river, the accidental poetry of splashing rain, the humbling power of an ancient glacier, the sublime rise and fall of silhouetted mountains, or the more gradual rhythms of silhouetted hills and dales. Heurtevent counters the Romantic connotations of this macro perspective of the landscape through an interest in the microscopic decay of these vast environments; the role of leaf litter in soil fertilisation and forest regeneration, or the transition of water to and from ice.
Working predominantly in black and white, ochre and Chinese ink, Heurtevent builds layer upon layer of spontaneous marks of varying liquidity, from drips, abrasions, soak-stains and diluted washes, to sweeping jet-black gestures which recall geological strata or vast elemental events. For Heurtevent these natural phenomena provide her with the source material to test the constraints of the genre which she approaches through a contemporary abstract expressionist lens in the tradition of artists such as Helen Frankenthaler.
Emilie Heurtevent’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions and art fairs including, 2020, Affordable Art Fair Spring with NoonPowell Fine Art, Battersea, London (upcoming); Nature (solo) Fox Galleries, Melbourne, 2020; Animism to Abstraction, group exhibition, Aptos Cruz Galleries, Adelaide (2019); Women in Art, Who Gallery, Melbourne (2019); Decay & Renewal (solo) Gallery of City Library, Melbourne (2019); Meanderings in Visual Language, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne (2017); Infant Earth, solo exhibition, Pumpkin Lane Gallery, Melbourne (2016) and Group exhibition, Chancery Lane Gallery, Adelaide (2015).