Olivier Mériel. Silver Light. In the Wake of Impressionism in Normandy
June 4 - October 31, 2010
Olivier Mériel holds a unique place on the contemporary photographic scene. Born in 1955 at Saint Aubin-sur-Mer, in the department of Calvados, he has been a photographer since 1975. Photographer of light, of back-lit and black and white shots, he has created a unique body of work ever since his first trips in the 1970s, work that has an unmistakable and unforgettable resonance.
Impressionist painters were already familiar with the photographic approach; the group’s first exhibition had taken place in the workshop of photographer Félix Nadar in 1874. Olivier Mériel’s response to the impressionists – with their rapid brushwork and preference for painting outdoors to capture feeling and the ephemeral aspects of nature – is a relationship to slowness, to the time needed to create a photograph. He takes his time and observes, waiting for a link between time, place and its interior landscape. His pictures are produced with a heavy, large format camera — 10 x 12 cm to 30 x 40 cm — using very long exposure times of up to one hour, obtained by contact and then transferred to platinum and selenium on gelatin silver paper.
Silver Light in the wake of Impresionism in Normandy was an exhibition commissioned on the occasion of the Normandie Impressionniste festival. It invited viewers to rediscover the emblematic places of Impressionism in a different light and to juxtapose painting and photography.