I’m inspired to know people who are staying productive and creative during COVID. While I was in the United States, there were artists in lockdown here in Uzès who created memorable art they are now sharing.
British artist Gilly Beal, a resident of Uzès for the past two years, was here for the lockdown – or ‘le confinement’ as it is called in French. During that time, strict rules kept everyone from traveling no more than one kilometer from their residence for no more than one hour a day. Unable to access her studio, Gilly looked for other ways to make art.
Gilly has an MA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. Having lived most of her life in Asia, she learned the art of calligraphy and primarily the single brushstroke. Her work, mostly paintings, shows her talent with a simple gestural stroke and how it can create a series of captivating lines. Her work’s subtlety in monochromes and duochromes creates pieces full of energy, despite their deceptive simplicity.
She is always searching for ‘found painting,” the accidental marks of man and nature that leave a trace.
Gilly decided to take photographs of Uzès on her hour-long walks around town during confinement. Not just pictures of buildings and landmarks, but photos with elements of her own type of art. Lines, shadows, and oft-overlooked objects became her tools.
As exhibited recently at Galerie de la Grande Bourgade in Uzès, Gilly’s “Journal d’un Confinement” series left visitors surprised to learn that the works were indeed photos, not paintings. The details, color, and light of her photos have a painterly feel.
As she explains: “I built new relationships with the mundane, the everyday. My camera became my witness, my way to record, to interpret. Small things became important, and my photographic diary is the result of that extraordinary time.
The images’ subject included barred windows, closed and locked doorways, communicating the idea of being shut away.
“I was also fascinated by the empty town. No bustling Saturday market, a deserted Place aux Herbes and echoes of the bars and restaurants typically filled with people and laughter.”
Gilly has participated in exhibitions in Bali, London, and Singapore. Her work is in private collections around the world. I encourage you to view her work on her FaceBook page. If you’ve visited Uzès, you may see one of your favorite spots, pictured as never seen before, never after.
*All photos are giclee fine art print on Hahnemuhle 310gsm Photo Rag Satin Fine Art Paper mm X 29.7cm (A4). Limited edition: 20 each
You can view more of Gilly’s collection of paintings and photos at www.gillybeal.com.
I would love to hear from you. How did you spend your time in lockdown? Please feel free to add your comments.
For stories of more artist friends in Uzès, check out these posts:
Whimsy in Uzès. Meeting Simon James.
Original Art Keepsakes From France
Oh La La! San Quentin la Poterie, France
Categories: Around France, Blog, Loving Art
I’m particularly fond of the b/w photos. They do capture the mood. And, just look at the empty arched passages surrounding the square. It was FULL of folks when I was there 3 years ago. Le confinement has moved to le réconfinement. Stay safe, Deborah!
Back in lockdown again gives these images even more emotion. As if it may never end. I’m safe and intend to follow all the rules to stay that way. It’s a very different feeling than being with family last confinement one the US. Thank you for your encouragement. Bonne courage!
Great piece – I love Gilly’s work and followed her photo diary assiduously during lockdown, wondering what she’d find next. I often wonder what her “accidental painting” is, knowing it’s a photo of something our eyes would usually glance over. Thanks for sharing!
I agree. I’ve seen her stop in the middle of a sidewalk to take a photo of an « accidental » object I’d walk right past. She has an amazing eye. Thank you for sharing your comment.
Great piece Deborah! xx
Thank you, Petra. It was a good collaboration with Gilly. I love her work. She’s so talented!
I’m so proud of my Gilly Beal original! It’s found the perfect spot in my home and it’s one of the first things I see, it was a beautiful exhibit.
I know Gilly is thrilled to see a piece of her work among your collection. We’re so lucky to know her here in Uzès.
What wonderful photos – I am such a fan of photography and personally love the many opportunities for interesting photos in Europe – Provence being my favorite location. These photos are amazing works of art. Thank you for sharing – something beautiful during confinement.
Gilly is truly gifted. I was so happy to see her so inspired that she could make art out of the ordinary. So happy you enjoyed learning about her.