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women in art

A Celebration of Beauty Artist Isabelle Gautier’s quest for balance

By KIMBERLY BROCK

Bodie Island by artist Isabelle Gautier

I

sabelle Gautier was raised in Normandy, just a few miles from the Mont Saint Michel in northwestern France and a world away from where she makes her home today in Milton with her husband and two sons. A statement on her website sums up her incredible journey as a woman and an artist. “Is there a better way than art to bring people from all over the world together in a celebration of beauty?” “When I moved to the States 16 years ago, contemporary art in the Southeast was even rarer than now. I decided to take my brushes up and decorate my house,” Gautier said. It’s hard not to be distracted by her lovely accent, but her warmth draws people in, much like her art. You want to listen a little closer. “I think the difference of culture and the unsynchronized way of thinking between my new friends and myself exacerbated my need to paint,” she said. Gautier’s art reflects her desire to communicate her European perspective. The color and movement are meant to remind us – take time to have tea, light a candle, bring serenity into your day, appreciate life, step away from the rush, away from the material, find balance. It was her own quest for these things that led to her now 20-year career as an artist. In 1991, she attended l’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. “I never thought I would become an artist. I took art classes for the pleasure when I was living in France, the same way I took Yoga classes or the same way I traveled,” she said. “I had a need for beauty, balance and discovery. I need and like to be challenged just to progress. I can’t do stagnation.” Her contagious energy and perpetual sense of curiosity are evident in each piece. They are a celebration of the natural world and the lessons we can draw from it on how to behave toward one another, what to value in life and the intrinsic value of surrounding ourselves with beautiful things. “I began shyly with representative subjects but with no conviction. It actually allowed me to be respected as an artist because that’s what people in Georgia were expecting 15 years ago,” she said. “But eventually my frustration grew and I became more and more myself, an abstract artist and now an expressionist abstract artist. “Each of my paintings is a statement,” she said. “It can be a political one, a sociological one, a cultural one. My oeuvre is the result of my progression and maturity as 24 | northsidewoman.com | april2015

By the Snow by artist Isabelle Gautier

Artist Isabelle Gautier

Alpharetta Arts StreetFest What: 11th annual Alpharetta Arts

StreetFest

When: Saturday and Sunday, April 18 – 19; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Where: Historic Downtown Alpharetta, across from Alpharetta City Hall, 2 South Main St., Alpharetta, Ga. 30009; www. alpharetta.ga.us; www.facebook.com/ alpharettastreetfest; Twitter: @ArtsStreetFest an artist and as a person. “I use acrylic and have a predilection for a homemade palette knife. It allows me to barely add water, which keeps the pigment intact and suits my ideas, keeps things raw and true.”  Finding the courage to be true to herself has paid off. Represented by Muse and Co in Atlanta, she was selected by HGTV as the main artist for their Smart Home in 2013. Recently, she was chosen as the featured artist at the Trinity Spotlight on Art, one of the largest and most prestigious art markets in the Southeast.  Galleries that Gautier recommends include Tew Gallery, Avery Gallery, Anne Irvin Fine Art Gallery and Pryor Fine Art, just to name a few. “Recently, I had a solo show at Aimee Fine Art Gallery in Decatur. And Alpharetta StreetFest is getting better and better every year,” she said. At the heart of her art is Gautier’s belief in the healing power of art. She is inspired by the prospect that her pieces will enhance the homes and lives of others. “Being an artist is an art by itself. Learning to express yourself freely, and at the same time fit in, connect with others,” she said. “Being an artist is knowing that we are all part of a whole.” ■

Before the Snow by artist Isabelle Gautier

Northside Woman, April 2015  

Northside Woman is a work and play publication and companion website that covers news and features.

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