By Ellen Turner Hall
The present exhibition at the Chateau Royal of Collioure consists of large format paintings by Vincent Torguet, a jeweller by profession. During the period of forced inactivity due to Covid, the artist found a new outlet in paint rather than gemstones and on a scale that no longer required his jeweller’s eyepiece. Vincent confined became Vincent unleashed.
The exhibition abounds with canvases of big blousy flowers in bright yellow, orange and red singing of the profusion of nature. These upbeat garlands contrast with a painting called Surmoi in which a man hunched to the side of a large yellow landscape seems to be contemplating his solitude. A more serene point on the emotional spectrum is a bedroom painted in soft pinks and broad graceful brushstrokes which invites the spectator to select a book and curl under the covers.
A series of divided canvases perhaps expresses the artist divided against himself. In Patchwork, 15 rough squares show the turmoil of lockdown with its moments of joy amidst despair. Everyday objects like candles, coffee pots and fruit celebrate the light, while towards the bottom of the work black obliterates everything else.
In the double view of Collioure, an orange suns burns onto the sea, breaking into a Turneresque mosaic of light and dark. On the other half, the clock tower, sinister in blue and black, hovers above the anarchy of the waves.
A study of light is represented in three panels. From left to right: a table with an array of flowers and fruit, followed by an explosion of yellow and gold, as if the sun had spilled onto the canvas, and ending with a garden path leading to an open window. The message may be that in spite of war, climate change and individual doubt, hope lies at the end of the tunnel.