Kerstin Paillard was born 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. Experimenting the processes and the limits of the dry pastel, and drawing inspiration from her double culture and legacy and extensive travels, she brings together the immediacy of Abstract Expressionism and the intuitive gesture of Colorfield paintings (Helen Frankenthaler, Rothko), in her exploration of gesture, rythm and color.
She works by only using the pure pigments of the dry pastels (from Blockx and Sennelier), that she crushes and mix, smashes and smears, with her fingers and hands directly onto linen canvas, laid 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. This fascination has led to a lot of travels and to become the basis of her body of work. 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 the same finnish as an oil painting.
Kerstin Paillard creates paintings notable for their luminosity, texture, and sculptural presence. Her richness of palette and her use of only dry pastels crushed into pure pigment powder put on linen canvas, depicting the dawn, the light, the landscapes and skies of the South of France and the North of Sweden, create a compelling work of abstract art by which the viewer feels endlessly absorbed.
A trip to Lapland led Kerstin to create a body of work called Laponia, which captured the indigo sunset and the multiple hues of the Northern skies, a serie of paintings composed of several interconnected artworks inspireds by the light, the skies, the landscapes and the colors of these artic areas.
In 2019 will her artworks be presented in the Museum Gustavo de Maeztu in Estella, Spain.
“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.
Interview for The Heroine Journey by Peter de Kuster (July 2017)