Vincent Michea Figeac, France, b. 1963

 

Vincent Michea creates narrative, often hyperrealist paintings inspired by the surrounds of his hometown Dakar, Senegal. In 'Self-portrait', Michea paints a view from his workshop window - we see the houses, windows, frontages, advertising and balconies that make up Dakar's urban sprawl. Senegal's largest city and one of West Africa's most important administrative hubs, its landscape is a constantly changing stage of contours, forms and

textures, which Michea observes with an inquisitive eye. The artist's palette is made up of the bold colours and hard edges common in West African fabrics. Though his subjects are ordinary in themselves, Michea makes them both African and contemporary.

 

In 'Dakar, punto final', the words and letters painted with such great precision seem to change and lose their meaning. Michea's work becomes at the same time figurative and abstract. Although primarily African, his paintings evoke the Los Angeles shop fronts and Californian petrol stations of Ed Ruscha. Recalling early work by David Hockney, architectural shapes and heavy blocks of primary colour draw attention to the surface of the canvas. Stark shadows cast from the midday sun create geometrical forms, graphics stronger than the subject itself.


The portrait and the self-portrait play an important role in Michea's work. The artist often presents a subject who wants to show or hide certain aspects of his or her identity. Recalling the painting method of Roy Lichtenstein, Michea works point by point to stylize, embellish and transform appearances and personality.


Michea lives and works in Dakar, Senegal. His paintings have been exhibited in 'Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America' at Saatchi Gallery, London.