Isabelle Merlet comes from and old Provencal family, the Clappiers, settled and very involved in the life and community of Moustiers Sainte Marie.
As a Parisian, it was only natural that she came to spend her vacations in Moustiers, in the family château of Ségriès. A graduate of the prestigious graphic art school, the « Peninghen Académie Julian », located in Paris on the rue du Dragon, she diligently attended the studios in Paris, those in Montparnasse and Place des Vosges in particular, studios where she later secured a teaching position.
In 1999, she decided to leave the capital city to settle permanently in Moustiers and to the paint the landscape of her childhood.
Painting the landscape to get a better look: Isabelle Merlet paints her Provence, this « high country» described by Jean Giono, the back roads and paths, the lazy days of skipping school, the horizons that awe, the blinding snapshots of an arid Provence where the Tachism and the material on the canvas allow one to minimize the depth of the scene, to flatten the landscape like Les Nabis did long before her, with their particular aspect that is implied by the simplification and the piercing distribution of color and tone.
The wonderment carries us on a voyage, in a royal manner of starting the journey, magnificently free, like Stendhal wrote. Neither too close, nor too far, at just the right distance, Isabelle Merlet take the colors literally, lets them breather in open air, shares their enthusiasm, and trusts them, with open eyes.
Color studies, object teaching, these Provencal fantasies capture the gaze of the wanderer, this feast for the eyes where beauty, clarity, the lightness of the vanishing lines are there, available, and which allow the landscapes, the flowers, and the men, to be amazed at belonging to the same world and to never tire, this idea of beginnings of movement where these great escapes become promises of beauty.
This is what we call enchantment.
I’ve been following the work of Isabelle Merlet for several years and never fail to marvel before her paintings. She interprets the Provence that I love, warm and colorful with the particular light that she masterfully produces.
|ALain Ducasse with Isabelle Merlet|
With extraordinary perseverance, Isabelle Merlet has accomplished the challenge of painting Provence using the same light as Van Gogh.
The Provence reproduced by Isabelle Merlet is not abstract. It’s a personal language full of warmth and color. It’s the reflection of her own fascination with the surrounding light.
Isabelle Merlet captivates us with her passion, as she is passionate, inhabited by her inner landscapes. Knifes in hand, she tracks down her demons, she intoxicates the colors, inebriates the landscapes, and we all leave high from the light in the heat and aromas of Provence.René Frégni