I have always adored cities and architecture. I loved growing up in Paris, visiting my grandparents’ Le Corbusier apartment, and watching Jacques Tati’s films with their playful modernism. I have gone on to live all over the world creating work from one continent to another. And, no matter where I reside, I am infused by the specificity of the architecture and culture around me. My work is inspired and fed by all the experiences and cultures I have discovered during my travels. Each time I had to reinterpret myself with my art and find new techniques and inspiration, which was challenging but so worthwhile.
Architecture endures as a strong influence on my work. Whether the buildings are a new block of offices or apartments, an abandoned warehouse, an old administrative center, or a half-demolished home, I am drawn to the history and lives they evoke. I am attracted to their intrinsic beauty, whether that beauty comes from design or degradation or a combination of the two. My latest work, inspired by my new home, Philadelphia, is an interpretation of these buildings – sometimes in detail, sometimes with a broader view. These urban landscapes impress with grand facades, patchworks of broken windows, unique color palettes, and mirrored images of sky and nearby buildings. My work evokes reflections of the lives lived within these spaces. Both finding and creating beauty in the urbanism that surrounds us, my work transmutes decay and deterioration into serenity, story, and hue.
Color and textiles have always had important roles in my work because they create impressions of light, people, and pigment. Through a modern and singular approach to engraving, I make monotypes, prints, installations, artist books, paper clothing, and paintings that play with improvisation and superimposition in their creation. My work is monochromatic, echoing traditional engraving and etching, while creating color that appears in different halftones, shades, and densities. With my individualized method and practice, I am able to create unique works that cannot be achieved with traditional approaches. As a result, I interpret and interact with the world around me through a well-honed visual language that incorporates all the continents, histories, and cultures I’ve experienced.
Agathe Bouton - 2019
Agathe Bouton is a French artist living and working in the Philadelphia area whose boundary-pushing printmaking and paper works exhibit influence from living and working in international cities across the globe. Bouton earned her BFA in Painting and Printmaking and her MFA in Arts and Textile Design from the prestigious ESSAA Duperré in Paris, France. Since leaving Paris 13 years ago, Bouton has lived and exhibited her work internationally in Paris (France), London (UK), Philadelphia (USA), Rangoon (Burma/Myanmar), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Dakar (Senegal) and Istanbul (Turkey). She has presented solo exhibitions at the Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain in Dakar, Senegal; Rathaus House in Waldbrol, Germany; Centre d’Arts Plastiques Albert Chanot in Clamart, France; Bundaberg Art Centre in Bundaberg, Australia; Galerie Od’A in Istanbul, Turkey; River Gallery in Yangon, Burma/Myanmar; and the Bettie Morton Gallery in London, UK.
Bouton has received numerous awards in France and the United States for her accomplished printmaking including the Pierre Laurent First Prize in 2007 in Albi, France; being named a finalist in the Prix GRAV’X in 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2005 in Paris; and being selected as a semifinalist in the 91stand 92ndAnnual International Competitions of The Print Center in Philadelphia. Since moving to the U.S., she has exhibited extensively in Philadelphia at Inliquid, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Main Line Art Center, and NoBa Art Space, with a forthcoming exhibition at the Brandywine Workshop. Additionally, Bouton’s work is in the collections of French institutions including: the Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes; L’Inventaire, Artothèque du Nord Pas de Calais; and the Musée Français de la carte à jouer.
Photography Credit: Peggy Baud Woosley