Todd Bienvenu's figurative paintings are marked by his frequent use of saturated and strong colours that vibrate with movement and energy. Through scenes ranging from the beach, soccer games, and bedrooms to drinking parties and pools, Bienvenu expresses both the joy and frustrations of daily life with humour.Read More
Bienvenu graduated with a BFA from Louisiana State University in 2003, after which he went on to receive an MFA from the New York Studio School (NYSS) in 2007. As he told Maake Magazine in 2016, Bienvenu has been absorbed with the figure since his undergraduate days, when he sought to reach a balance between representation and abstraction. Influential to developing his practice were his two favourite artists at the time, Rembrandt and Willem de Kooning.
The subject matter of Todd Bienvenu's paintings is often inspired by his experiences or references topics that he is familiar with—in either case, it is inevitably pulled from ordinary life. Bienvenu portrays quotidian, yet potentially serious misfortunes through his characteristic wit, such as the man taking a fall in the shower in Slip n fall (2018) or people scrambling to fit themselves into a train in J Train (2018).
Alcohol and parties are recurring motifs in Todd Bienvenu's paintings. In his interview with Hyperallergic in 2014, the artist said that 'when people are drinking in the paintings, there is action happening; it's not a passive scene. The paintings are about seizing the day.' Bienvenu recreates the sensation and immediacy of such scenes by employing thick, crudely applied brushstrokes and depicting his characters with expressive facial features.
In multiple interviews, including for NYSS Journal in 2018, Todd Bienvenu has described his process as being intuitive and simultaneous. Although he may begin painting from an idea or images gathered on the internet, the artist allows the process of painting to develop his work, moving between multiple paintings at once, and seldom makes preparatory drawings.
In Halcyon Days, his solo exhibition at Almine Rech Shanghai in 2020, Todd Bienvenu expands on his playful representations of contemporary human life by focusing on the sensation of touch and intimacy. Whether in the midst of Pillow Fight (2019) or a club in Crowd Surfing (2020), physical contact is scrutinised and its implications measured.
Further selected solo exhibitions include Slapstick, Almine Rech, London (2018); Jaywalk, Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris (2018); Dive, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva (2016); and Exile on Bogart Street at Life on Mars Gallery, New York (2015).
Todd Bienvenu lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020