Survival on Kangaroo Island

The isolation, the claustrophobic confinement, all the unknown new realities arising from the Pandemic could have easily devastated her. No children attending her intimate art classes. Dwindling resources, the rent, and other monetary woes. Just bleakness, uncertainty, and the added worries stemming from her mother’s having Alzheimer’s Disease. But Marie-Laure Blazeix, a sculpturess turned painter with a passion for Encre de Chine (Chinese Ink or Indian Ink), never succumbed to the Pandemic’s upheavals. Aided by her teenage daughter, a computer geek, Blazeix opened a gallery for emerging and established artists, online Artvenia. Another type of creative for this Nice, France native, one that would compel competing with such commercial giants as Saatchi and Etsy, she gave a boutique selection of artists a new connection to the international market–a voice that would have been silenced if not for her taking a financial risk. How would she  distinguish her site in a crowded, highly-competitive realm?
She looked to the Moon for inspiration, an object “whose wounds and scars under repair” would be a fitting allegory for disjointed life during COVID-19. Turning to an “ancestral, Kintsugi-influenced” drawing, she used her Moonlight work to style Artvenia’s logo. Like many of her “chiseled with gold” paintings, it’s autobiographical, a symbolic look at her world checkered with “night and day”contrasts. Or as she hints, shadows and struggles giving way to the brightest of lights. “I had nothing when the Pandemic made me stop my classes, only my work, and I felt going online would help me reach people,” says Blazeix, who studied journalism, worked for Armani and Chanel, later opened a Biot, France gallery in 2009 (“it was marvelous being in this art town, but the “Crisis” hit in 2011’), and eventually moved to Nice in 2016.
“My sculpture and painting classes were so much fun…I had young Rodins in my class. But once I was cut off from that, I realized I was disappointed by the results at I felt I could do better with my own site, a platform that promotes others, supports artists. I like to work collectively…without any of the trickery that exists in the art world. ”Discovering and reaching out to emerging talents (like digital artist Pete Rey) has been the “best thing” for her. Artvenia became a virtual “salon,” a venue avoiding the typical “compartmentalizing of creators,” where artists’ stories were told in high-quality photographic images. Creating the site rekindled Blazeix’s passion for journalism. She earned various degrees in communication, and seemed headed for a writing career. ”I would have loved to be a journalist specializing in culture. I like making people think.”
Blazeix continues to provoke thought. Boldly exploring universal themes, such as disquieting familial relationships, she feels her paintings should peer into “shadows, the dark”–examine emotional issues that typically bedevil us.“It is a very difficult exercise to probe one’s soul, our Night and Day, the depths and shadows between them,” she admits. “I have two faces but many messages.” Monsters in the House is one clear statement. Verdant life surrounds her,  yet the house is hauntingly dark, dominated by a shadowy figure, the cause of her “having a very difficult life,” her needing to “hold on (somehow) to support her mother through troubles.”
Kangaroo Island offers another sort of imprisonment. Insisting “I feel pain for animals, how they are prisoners,” Blazeix emblazes the canvas with a fiery mix of gold, oranges and browns. Here the wind, the Mistral, is also monstrous, prompting Blazeix to lament, “the winds are so powerful, the poor animals, the fire whips so strongly. Frenetically-moving Tangoists provide even more heat in Dancers 2. Here there’s “suspense,” stiletto heels, rhinestones, slender thighs, and the Argentinian sultriness of the Tango. Cloaked in mystery, Hanfu generates its own energy, women’s pursuit of empowerment. Flaunting traditional Chinese costumes and patterns of gold, the silhouettes celebrate Unity, the strength from women bonding together.
Now coping with her mother’s illness. Blazeix has already shown resilience, the power to move forward. She is evolving, still moving between the shades and shadows of Encre de Chine, and sensitive to the “softness” of Erables. A tender look into Balzeix’s determined pursuit of purpose, Erables (or Maples) will withstand those swirling Mistrals, and flourish.
Written By Edward Kiersh
Marie-Laure Blazeix Demaria Artiste | Facebook

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