Spotlight: Belgian Painter Celeste Neo’s Newest Paintings Explore Astronomy Through an Art Brut Lens
Recent paitins by the artist are now on view at M.A.C. Fine Art Gallery.
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About the Artist: Originally from Brussels, Belgium, visual artist Celeste Neo (b. 1988) has a painting practice defined by its bold, gestural brushwork and intuitive compositions. Neo created her first work in 2019, and quickly adopted a style inspired by both art brut and Abstract Expressionism. Her creative process was born out of deep introspection following a personal struggle, and in conjunction with a deep fascination with both astronomy and Greek mythology. From these inspirational sources, Neo is able to capture intriguing juxtapositions and relationships between ancient and advanced civilizations, extraplanetary and earthly, dreams and reality. Neo’s execution of each painting, too, enhances the themes she works with, adding a sense of immediacy and emotional depth through their intuitive color palette choices and rapid painting process.
What You Need to Know: M.A.C. Fine Art Gallery was founded in 2021 in the Principality of Andorra, and is dedicated to supporting and promoting Modern and contemporary art. A regular participant in international fairs, salons, and exhibitions, the gallery offers a diverse range of historic and contemporary artists across mediums and time periods. Presently, M.A.C. Fine Art Gallery is exhibiting a selection of recent works by emerging artist Celeste Neo, highlighting the artist’s recurrent use of mythology- and interplanetary-related themes as well as the distinctive style they have developed. Together, the collection of paintings explore a new mode of abstraction and the interweaving of subject matter and the artist’s unique perspective.
Why We Like It: The confluence of folk art and Abstract Expressionist techniques in Neo’s work lends to a unique form of abstraction that is marked by the artist’s own emotional and psychological state. Further, the titles of each work act as starting points from which viewers can then interpret the paintings—and extrapolate the core raison d’être of the painting. In pieces such as Des Electrons autour d’un Trou Noir (2020), or “Electrons Around a Black Hole,” Neo’s preoccupation with astronomy is at the forefront both in the title and compositionally, illustrated by a void of swirling color at the center. It also illustrates the relationship between opposites, in this case the micro and macro via subatomic particles and the massive region of spacetime known as black holes. Early works like Clown au Noeud Papillon (2019) show Neo’s experimentation with figuration but with the same emphasis on gesture as her abstractions. The bowtie-wearing clown is at once playful and foreboding, alluding to psychoanalytic fears through the abstraction of the eyes which lend a nightmarish element, but uncannily cheerful through the bright color palette. The tension between elements again indicates the artist’s interest in dichotomies, and exploring their boundaries through visual means.
See featured works from the exhibition.
Learn more about M.A.C Fine Art’s program here.
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