Mille et Une Nuit by Denis Nolet
Denis Nolet was born in Quebec in 1964. Beginning his study of art at the age of nine, Nolet was able to experiment with various styles of painting early on, finding his own unique genre in a fusion of his influences and establishing himself as an artist by the time he was only twenty.
Preferring moonlight to sunlight, Nolet paints scenes saturated with the romance of the night. With a brushstroke suggestive of Seurat and a palate of infinite hues, Nolet creates a mirage of his medium wherein he seems to transform the oil paint into soft, smooth, cloth. The finished painting almost appears as if it were dyed rather than painted. This illusion of a delicate fabric in place of canvas makes Nolet’s work all the more sentimental. It is only upon closer inspection of the work that brushstrokes become visible and the piece can be more certainly deciphered as an oil painting.
As the properties of earth and sky become blurred, the wet pavement reflects the architecture, figures, street lamps, trees, flower vases, and other objects of beauty included in the work that make Nolet’s compositions picture perfect. The discernment between the planes of space is distinguished by color saturation. Shadows on the lower half of the picture plane become just as important as the intended three-dimensional objects themselves.
These muted reflections divide the canvas, giving the final work a balance that is so cinematic one may be reminded of a 1950’s film or a life-like animation from a Disney movie. In other instances, Nolet’s work bears resemblance to an analytical architectural drawing, pushing and pulling negative space with complementary or analogous colors, occupying planes of light and shadow, while portraying his figures like an elaborate trophy awarded for ballroom dancing or a scene from “Moulin Rouge“.
While keeping the paintings somewhat ambiguous with anonymous silhouettes and mysterious, yet familiar, locations the viewer is easily carried away into Nolet’s idyllic world. Despite his varying compositions, all of Nolet’s work contains a common theme of universal romanticized urbanism. Whether the picture reveals a couple dancing on a rooftop or embracing in a misty evening beneath the street lights in the quaint streets of an idealized French-flavored city, Nolet’s paintings exude the exhilaration present in any moment containing passion. Amid a crowd, or alone on a balcony, Nolet’s couples draw the viewer in, encouraging the onlooker to dream of what was, what is, or what could be, love.