Loste in translation

3 By Ellen Hall 3

The painter Patrick Loste is a private man. His home and workshop are nestled in the Albères far from distractions, close to nature. An unlikely candidate for two very public projects in the middle of Perpignan. Nevertheless, the decoration of the dome of the FNAC and the panels on the façade of the Conseil General building are his designs.

Loste sees the FNAC’s glass dome as a conservatory or winter garden. He loves the idea of nature flourishing in an urban centre. In his India ink drawings, birds alight on branches while wild pigs, snails, tortoises and frogs crowd the forest floor and fish chase each other in a pond. After scanning the designs, engravers sand-blasted the scenes onto glass. The lively result is reminiscent of the wheel-of-life creation tapestry in Girona cathedral.

For the Conseil General, Loste based his interpretation of the national motto on the human form. “Liberté” is a bird, wings spread in flight. A closer look reveals the “bird’ to be composed of human figures. The heads of “Egalité” and the tree of “Fraternité” make a similar statement about human communality.

Loste’s mountain workshop is a vast open space, the walls witness to his preferred colours of black and green with touches of deep blue. Horses and riders painted on 2-meter by 2-meter canvas line the floor as well as the walls. While the composition is highly disciplined and symmetric, the paint seems to be applied freely, creating an aura of energy and spontaneity.

Horses are a challenge for the artist, Loste admits. Because they are always in movement, it is difficult to capture their tension and restlessness. The artist keeps and rides his own horses, so knows the animal intimately.

His abstract landscapes are often fog-bound and brooding, the colours sombre. Traces of human figures appear as insubstantial visions dwarfed by forces beyond their control. Forever in search of new subjects and new techniques, Loste is never bored. He doesn’t copy nature but tries to find out how it works.

Patrick Loste regularly exhibits his work in France In 2010 he will take part in a group show in Nimes around the theme of bullfighting.

For more information, see his website [patrick-loste.com->patrick-loste.com].

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