Installation view, All Trees Go to Heaven, 9 x 11 feet, Kelowna Childcare, BC.
Nathalie Denise Coulombe’s art emerges out of an emotion- and memory-driven practice. Intuition-led, process-based, Coulombe’s abstract works in charcoal, pastel, and paint on canvas and paper reflect an openness to discovery and curiosity for life-affirming moments of connection and the often solitary spaces between.
In the way that a hint of warm breeze in late Winter reminds us the season will soon change, or in the way connecting with a fellow human being can create a feeling of wholeness, the visual vocabulary developed by Coulombe urges us to remember we are not as alone as we may often feel. Serving as an antidote to an enduring feeling of loneliness, Coulombe’s art finds vital energy in the senses of connection to the natural world, to other humans, and ultimately to oneself.
Coulombe’s recent series Nurture/Nature engages with the themes and dynamics of connection and disconnection through an expressive yet deft colour palette as well as through a playful but organic compositional patterning. Working on rough paper or raw canvas, and experimenting with washes of various viscosities, Coulombe follows the lead of her media—at times restarting in search of combinations that click, be that in a space of balance, harmony; or in one of compelling imbalance. Near-geometric shapes converse with more fluid lines. Negative space, when preserved, may enhance or disrupt the equilibrium of the work. Solid colour fields are echoed by less-opaque swathes of neighbouring tones, and while the colours used hint at nature’s most brilliant chromatic phenomena, they remain grounded as part of a more earthly spectrum.
Guided by her compulsion to paint, Coulombe invites viewers through her work to acknowledge the nurturing associations that encourage us to keep going.