Sylvie Adams’ lyrical abstractions present a universality: The artist’s paintings touch a collective memory. We can see – and feel – something we once knew. One can discern a figure or a story in her unstructured shapes, which resemble nebulae with their energetic elegance. The artist moves about a great deal while working in front of her canvas, which explains the dynamism of her work.  There are few hard edges in her vigorous application of colours which explode beside and onto each other. The visual field is flat, and yet a depth can be perceived through the veil of overlapping hues, some of which drip Pollock-like, their action forming calligraphic lines as they follow gravity down the canvas. The pace of their path suggests the strong gestures with which the paint was applied. 

Although the shapes are delicate, Adams’ approach is very physical, which sets up a dueling dimension in her pieces. The shapes are ornamental, springing from her imagination. They grow in an organic fashion as they interact with each other, tones touching on tones, forming interesting translucencies as they intermingle. But there is an ongoing contrast between the power of the exploding colour and the softness of the shapes; between the amorphous colorations and the sharper brush-stroked lines, dashed across the canvas with so much energy that they seem to continue the movement in their drips.

Evoking an emotional reaction, this tension is at the core of Sylvie Adam’s work. Her abstract elements trigger a recollection, like Proust’s remembrance of things past, while her exuberant creativity sets up an inherent dynamism that counter balances the colourful poised shapes.

Veronica Redgrave 2013

CP 264, Notre-Dame de Grâces, Montréal, QC, Canada H4A 3P6


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