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Christine Comyn

View All Art Works By Christine Comyn
Like so many would-be artists in the younger days making before her and aft, (now) celebrated and very much contemporary figurative artist, Christine Comyn exhibited many of the tell-tale signs that she would grow up to become someone creative whilst of childhood. Demonstrating what was keenly observed as a ‘natural aptitude for painting and drawing at a very young age’, Comyn fulfilled her potential by going on to develop and refine her artistic talents at Ghent’s Saint-Luke Academy. Born and bred in Belgium, Comyn remained in the low country once she’d completed her further education, and gained employment as an Illustrator for the book publishers, Lannoo; where she worked from 1978 to 1983. During the later stages of this initial chapter in Comyn’s working life and times – and at the age of just 24 – she also became an instructor at Tielt’s Academy of Modern Art; a position she held from 1981 to 1997 as it panned out.

Comyn yearned to do her own thing, artistically however, rather than answering other people’s creative briefs, and with this in mind decided that a commercial Illustrator’s life wasn’t for her. So she began exploring a more expressive approach to her personal art, and in 1983 started experimenting with watercolours, where she quickly mastered the often delicate and seemingly unpredictable techniques that go hand in brush with this medium. Comyn’s preferred subject matter was figurative, and her dramatic brand of watercolouration depicted graceful, almost ethereal young females in various emotional states and situations which soon became the topic of much conversation in contemporary art circles.

One man who’s radars Comyn’s new work blipped on was Mr Willy Bosschem, Director of the Academy of Modern Art in Ostend, Belgium, who on witnessing Comyn’s work for the first time immediately invited her to showcase her current portfolio at the Thermae Palace Hotel in the same metropolis. The year was 1988, and amounting to Comyn’s debut solo exhibition as such it was deemed an overwhelming success by all parties, if for no other reason than because Comyn’s entire collection of watercolours sold out then and there. Which by any measure of success is simply astonishing.

Not one to rest on her laurel, or for that matter allow herself to become safe or complacent in her own artistic comfort zone for too long, Comyn then chose to abandon her solely figurative style and instead focus on an alternative genre. Far from being perceived as a contrary move, Comyn was already being noted as both confident and creative in her beliefs and talents, so this was seen as more of a learning curve. Side-stepping the urge to go down a more wildly expressive, free-form style, Comyn elected to explore colour and rhythm in greater detail, although never compromising structure. The resultant progressive and transitional work was met with universal approval and was said to convey a unique pictorial tension amid a logical sense of balance, compositionally.

Comyn’s new found direction was soon winning her plaudits again, and none bigger than when global cosmetics giants, L’Oreal commissioned the exciting contemporary artists to originate and manifest a series of painting inspired by their (1991) new fragrance range. This acknowledgement and subsequent exposure fired Comyn into the big league, as her illustrative interpretation of complex aromas courtesy of mesmerising visual imagery set even more tongues wagging. The pictorial focus of that national promotional campaign centred on the limited edition lithographs entitled, ‘Turbulent’ and ‘Shimmering Light’.

A year later and Comyn had successfully entwined her love of figurative with her equal passion for the more abstract creation, and her studies of the human body were receiving critical acclaim far and wide. Occupying the centre stage of her signature compositions, Comyn’s figures of both female and male orientation integrate with ease to the composite image, whilst the symbolism and dynamism is all consuming. Over time Comyn has adopted acrylics to work in with her watercolours so as to achieve the desired effects that she perpetually strives for in her habitual pieces, and today exhibitions of her work have been staged across the world, from Switzerland, Italy and Germany through to Venezuela, Russia and the United States.

Alongside of Comyn’s art work, there’s been publications too, starting with her first monograph in 1997 which served as a retrospective of her work from 1988 to 1997. An accompanying exhibition was arranged to coincide with its launch, whereby numerous paintings had to be recuperated from private collectors. In that same year Comyn was honoured with the National Prize of the Belgian reference yearbook ‘Artists and Galleries’. 12 months on from this and Comyn’s exceptional artistic talents earned her an invitation to participate in ‘Le Prix International d' Art Contemporain de Monte Carlo’ by a jury of renowned artists like Adami, Folon, Botero and de Seradour and under the chairmanship of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

Later that year and Comyn was approached by the artistic director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders to execute a series of paintings inspired by ballet, where the artist was afforded the opportunity to study and sketch the dancers of the Royal Ballet during their practice sessions. The artistic synergy led to a much publicised exhibition of her work at the new theatre in Antwerp, and a special production, titled ‘Looking Through Glass’ by the Royal Ballet. Comyn was later commissioned to create a bronze sculpture as an award set to be handed out to some of the most influential and creative talents in Belgium's advertising and feature film making industries, something which again enhanced her burgeoning reputation, this time in the arena of sculpture which she was also branching out into. Comyn's second monograph was published in 2000, a large-size art book comprising some 144 pages, 120 colour illustrations and texts by art-critic Frans Boenders.