VISIONARY REVUE

Mount of the Immortals

      In 1996, Vacher left France and moved to California, where he worked for Disney as an animator and background artist. "It's not that easy to leave everything behind, to change your Life and dive into the unknown... it costs a lot, emotionally and psychologically," (78) he remarked.
      Until recently, the artist divided his time between animation and easel painting - working for Disney while having shows as a gallery artist at such venues as Galerie Morpheus. And indeed, these two pursuits combined to a degree, since a cinematic feel is undeniably present in his painting - though Vacher makes it clear that "my style has also been shaped by contemporary artists like Sandorfi, Beksinski, Ugarte and Les Visionnaires in France." (79)
      But, after eight years in California, these European influences have expanded to include more American painters, such as the Hudson River school. In Vacher's own words, "I have broadened my horizons in art and discovered many different styles and schools, from the Realists, Pre-Raphaelites, Romantics, Orientalists, Symbolists or Visionaries in Europe, to the Hudson River school, American Realists, American impressionists and Plein Air painters in the US, not to mention all the generations of great American illustrators." (80)



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

Vision of the Lake

      In his painting, this change in sensibility is increasingly evident. Mount of the Immortals(left) or Swept by the Wind are cinematic in scope, but also share with Ugarte a cloudy grey atmosphere that is omenous and foreboding. Meanwhile, Vision of the Lake (above) and Mistress of the Winds share certain affinities with the Hudson River school in their rosy dawn atmosphere, promising new beginnings. This is only natural as the artist absorbs influences from the land and the artists who have interpreted it visually.
      Yet, those 'generations of great American illustrators' are also starting to have a determinate influence on Vacher's growing vision. As we shall see in Part II of this article, graphic novels and comic book art have an immense popularity in France (where they are called BD - les Bandes Dessinées). And certain BD illustrators, like Moebius and Druillet, will be considered here as Visionaries. But the title of 'illustrateur' remains an extremely prejorative term in the mouths of many French artists.
      For them, an illustrator is not a true painter, because he renders his subject through hard lines or strong colours while ignoring other important painterly qualities such as light, atmosphere, and mood (qualities which many French Visionaries have mentioned here time and again). The illustrator's image is designed for immediate impact, multiple reproduction and mass taste. It is not a timeless work of art destined for a gallery or musuem, where its unique appearance must be felt face à face, since it defies all attempts at reproduction.



 
 
 


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