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A Solitary Journey

by mana on June 10th, 2011

Régate à la Baie des Chaleurs

Régate à la Baie des Chaleurs, Prix du Public , Exposition Collective, Academie Nortaise, Brittany, France, 2004.

Sophie Lambert’s two paintings Régate à la Baie des Chaleurs and Le Solitaire offer a striking contrast. The first depicts an endless array of sailboats, each distinct but all quite similar, the participants in a regatta. They seem a community, like-minded people joined by their common interest.

Le Solitaire

Sophie Lambert, Le Solitaire

The other shows a single boat against a background that suggests an infinite expanse of sky and open sea. Three seagulls are flying by, but the feeling of solitude is palpable. Looking at these paintings stirred a number of reflections in me.

The isolation of the boat in Le Solitaire almost overwhelms me, especially when put in contrast with the closely connected group in Régate. It seems so alone, cut off from the rest of the world. Yet the prospect is thrilling as well as fearful . The solitary captain is completely in control of her fate, on a journey with no limits.
Life’s exigencies often put us in the position of that captain, driven apart from our communal roots and finding our own path through the clouds and waves. We know the same mixture of loneliness and anticipation, rejoicing in our self-reliance while regretting the loss of our former connections.

Exile and longing are themes that are explored by many artists, among them the Iranian-British visual artist Kourosh Salehi. His video Longing expresses the sadness of one who is cut off from his homeland. Combining Eastern and Western modes of expression, the generation of diaspora tries to resolve the discontinuity between their roots in a world that has now vanished and the familiar but not quite meaningful context of their present lives. The separation in time and space from where they once expected to spend their lives creates powerful feelings of longing and a desire for a new way of existence that can only emerge slowly and with great difficulty.

The music in the video is called Under this rock and is by British composer and musician Jocelyn Pook. Among her many accomplishments, Pook was chosen by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to score his final picture, 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut.

Political events sometimes trigger artistic expression, but the universality of art transcends politics. The feelings of solitude and longing expressed in Lamber’ts paintings and in Kourosh Salehi’s video are the same, though the contexts are very different. By discovering the common themes underlying the works of artists, you get a deeper understanding of realities which shape our common histories and our personal ones.

The lone sailor in Le Solitaire faces a daunting journey through solitude, but with the freedom to shape her own destiny, I like to think that she will find her way to the warm embrace of like-minded friends in Régate à la Baie des Chaleurs.

The painting Solitude is available for sale through Chez Mana along with other of Sophie Lambert’s paintings.

From → Musings

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  1. Renee Beauvais

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