The curlicue contours of French artist Marie Hiot’s work, which mirror the shape of the human body and its image in society, are both intriguing and comforting. In its questioning of forms, movements and shapes, Marie’s practice has an innate reflectiveness and a simplified beauty, in which hints of Matisse can be seen.
Colours bloom in rounded repeats, coiled lines connecting seemingly disparate shapes into soft abstracts of human form that pulse with movement and joy. The delicate simplicity of the work, however, belie its richness, and as you spend more time with each work, the character and the story they possess emerge more fully.
Working with multiple mediums, including pencil line-drawing, oil, watercolour and acrylic, the artist seeks to normalise ‘normal’ bodies. Born and raised in a small town in south-western France, Marie has called Sydney home since 2017. She says:
“If I had to choose, I think my favourite medium would be oil paint. The depth of the pigment is particularly striking. It takes a long time to dry, too, which allows me to take my time on each painting and work on several pieces at once.
“My parents painted, and I used to ‘borrow’ my dad’s camera and extra fine Fragonard watercolours as a kid. I learnt most of my skills through practice, but design school helped with an attention to detail on the interplay between colours and the significance of the meaning they can portray.”
Marie’s focus is the female body and mind, and much of this fascination has developed since reading Francoise Gilot’s Life With Picasso. The author explains that Picasso saw her as a ‘flower woman’, and, like flowers, women through the centuries have ‘bloomed’:
“It’s about accepting yourself, accepting all your petals and colours. It is blooming into who you are and what you are willing to be.”