Kerstin Paillard was born in 1977 in Paris, France and raised between Stockholm, Sweden and South of France. She received a BFA in 1999 from the Contemporary Art School, Villa Arson, Nice, France and an MFA in 2005 from the University of Montpellier, France.
Kerstin lives and works between Nice, France and Stockholm, Sweden.
Kerstin Paillard continuously refines and extends the traditions of lyrical abstraction. By experimenting the process and the limits of the dry pastel, she brings together the immediacy of Abstract Expressionism, the overall consistency of form and process of the Color Field Painting and the intuitive gesture of the Action Painting.
Her work consists in only using the pure pigments of the dry pastels (from Blockx and Sennelier), that she crushes and mixes, smashes and smears, with her fingers and hands directly onto linen canvas, spread on the studio floor, working from all sides to create floating fields of deep and expressive color. She applies the pigments in thick layers to create captivating and sensitive compositions.
A colorist since childhood, she began painting at an early age, always attuned to the ways that color and light merged with thought itself. She has a long-held obsession with the skies and their ever changing designs. In her early works from the 1990s, she started using dry pastels that she experienced and juxtaposed on different medias, with various densities and layers, repeating vertical gestures. These led to related color fields works on linen canvas, that she later combined with the cloud-like forms, to create deep, spiritual and celestial paintings.
To preserve the special aspect of dry pastel and the brightness and deepness of the pure pigments, and to heighten the effect of each color, Kerstin developed a unique process of varnishing the pastels on the canvas by applying the mixture in many thin layers, in order to get a finnish comparable to an oil painting.
Spending time in Lapland (Art Residencies in North of Sweden), led Kerstin to create a body of work called Laponia, which captured the indigo sunset and the multiple hues of the Northern skies, a series of paintings composed of several interconnected artworks inspired by the light, the skies, the landscapes and the colors of these artic areas.
She has exhibited extensively in Europe, in cities such as Stockholm, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Genova, Nice, and and in large metropolis in the United States, like New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Her work belongs to public and private collections worldwide and has been selected in 2019 by the FRESCO Foundation for the Nova Prize (New York, USA) and by Akili Tommasino, the Associate Curator of The Musuem of Fine Arts of Boston, to exhibit in the Katonah Museum of Art (Katonah, NY, USA).
Her work will be shown, during winter 2020, in the Museum Gustavo de Maeztu in Estella, Spain.
Interview, Art Reveal Magazine, April 2019 no.46
“The FRESCO Collective is pleased to present a group exhibition of seven emerging artists selected for the 2019 Nova Prize.
In Northern Lights I, Kerstin Paillard similarly offers a painterly meditation on the human psyche, drawing upon her experiences with the landscapes of Sweden and France. Paillard’s work is meant to facilitate individual introspection through the use of abstract, haptic forms […] she is interested in ideas of interiority and how the individual relates to the collective in an increasingly isolated world. Paillard’s abstract composition encourages critical examination of self through accretions of pastel and crushed pigment.
A small selection of works by Takashi Murakami, Virgil Abloh, Daniel Arsham, Sam Friedman, Cleon Peterson, and Josh Sperling will also be on display in the exhibition venue. While separate from the exhibition, the proximity of these works encourages visual and intellectual comparison between the sets of emerging and established artists while augmenting the overall exhibition narrative.”
The exhibition is curated by Anthony Huffman with assistance from Baylee McKeel, Renata Baltar, and Jennifer Gutierrez, and takes place at the HRY Space, New York.
Interview for The Heroine Journey by Peter de Kuster (July 2017)
“Kerstin Paillard is a Franco-Swedish artist who has always been fascinated by colours, contrasts and the effects of textures. In her seaside studio she gives birth to vivid « dreamscapes » where the precious light of the north meets the brightness of the south, where the sea and the sky collide, where remote childhood memories become familiar and gather in a vast splash of genuineness. She uses dry pastels on canvas and paints abstract and stylized shapes that seem contagiously alive. Under her nimble fingers the tinctures boil, the outlines tremble, the multiple layers of matter expand to create a dreamy and forceful firework of colours.”
Pascale Louis, director Galerie Art sur Cour, Antibes, France.