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Also seen at


Town Hall Vic Australia, 2021 & 2023


CBD Vic Australia, 2023

Press • Media 

French-born, Melbourne-based artist Guillaume Dillée’s paintings depict beautiful landscapes where the natural and built environment merge, cultures collide, and the divide between old and new, past and present, is dissolved to create disruptive yet comforting new realms. Influenced by the European Old Masters and traditional Japanese printmakers, Dillée’s use of colour and line and subtle human presence in his works are an invitation for exploration; the viewer is called to contemplate within these vast, enigmatic scenes and discover tiny treasures of detail and meaning. Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist? Yes definitely. I worked in the art market for thirty years, and during this period artistic creation was always part of my daily life, whether through drawing, writing or photography. However, our arrival in Australia eight years ago was a real eye-opener. Seeing the rich natural and cultural beauty of this nation, I felt a need like never before to create. It then became clear – I absolutely needed to put my perception of this unique environment on canvas. ​ Can you tell us about the process of creating a painting, from idea to fruition? My paintings are the result of an accumulation of ideas, colours and shapes from my everyday observations. I photograph what inspires me and create portfolios. I observe the pieces of this unlikely puzzle and look for a pictorial link. It then becomes obvious, and the creative process is set in motion. There is no drafting stage, but it is in the continual overlaying of spaces and contrasting of mediums and techniques that the elements come together and respond to each other, creating a unique composition.  "My paintings are the result of an accumulation of ideas, colours and shapes from my everyday observations." ​ What are some of the overarching themes that are addressed throughout your practice? Water, fire, land and air. There is nowhere else in the world that these four elements play such an important role in people’s everyday life. The lush nature, the forests, the gigantism of a unique biodiversity environment are an inexhaustible source of shape and colour in my mind. Then, amongst all this, there are signs of human presence. In my work, this is represented by the ‘iconic’ wood and old corrugated iron shearing sheds dotted across the Australian landscape. ​ Your upcoming exhibition at Merricks House Art Gallery is titled 'Paris-Melbourne', implying a fusion or merging of place and culture. What role does cultural hybridity play in creating your paintings? I did my "grand tour" as part of my work in the art world. For decades in Europe, I visited the exhibitions and collections of major museums. It was in observing the paintings of the Old Masters, the lines of the Asian printmakers and classic drawings that I found the elements essential to building my artistic future. Drawing on this past and now living in Melbourne in this unique environment, my artistic creations have become meaningful. ​ Which of the Old Masters would you say have influenced your work? Is there one, in particular, that has influenced your painting process?  I really love the Flemish 17th century school and Annibale Carracci for his landscape superposition construction. Also, the Fauvist movement for the colour palettes of Matisse, Derain, Chagall and Gauguin. ​ This blend of old and new, past and present, is clear in your works which resemble the floating worlds of traditional Japanese paintings and prints and suggest modern influences such as Japanese anime with your soft, harmonious colour palette. Is this an accurate connection? Asian art and technique play a major influential part in my work. Firstly, the construction of the perspective, where a mountain can hide a forest, a lake or even an old Australian woolshed. I love to be lost in a painting – I never do any drafts; I build my art with a succession of plans. Secondly, the calligraphy movement called shodo. The shodo is the immediacy of the gesture, the continuity of the rhythm, the control of the force on the brush and retouching or corrections are almost never accepted. All my vertical and horizontal line markings are continuous with each painting and, as a result, there is no possibility to erase or change it after it has been displayed on the canvas. This is the shodo technique. It requires a lot of concentration. Your use of stray, abstract lines disrupt the rhythm of your landscapes and manipulate the viewer's spatial consciousness. Is this your intention? Very interesting; a landscape painting could quickly look like a boring painting. When my canvas is almost finished, I leave it on its easel and spend a lot of time observing it. Then the understanding of the subject appears: the story, the main concern, the duality between the elements, the fracture between the human and the nature of the four elements – the tranquil beauty of Australia versus the wildness and danger in this beauty. I like to work through these dualities. Then the abstract lines come to disrupt the rhythm and give a tragic and beautiful sense for the understanding of my art. ​ You have stated that at the start of your artistic career that you found yourself "torn between the world of classical art and my creative ambitions to rebel". Is this 'rebellion' the catalyst behind the use of abstract lines and unique perspectives of your chosen landscapes? I used to manage my family's 17th to 19th-century art trading company, which was established in 1925. My mind was divided between the peaceful, ordered and reassuring art depicted by the artists of this period and my creative side that drew me toward more conceptual, expressive and intense artistic compositions. Painting enabled me to close the divide. I have now found a balance that is reflected in the composition of my landscapes.

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