In February of 2022 we were commissioned by Vincent Auvray of L’unique Caen to create a nature themed Mural for a public Space in Caen, France. Previous artists include Gregory Chatonsky and Sabrina Ratte.
The artwork shows a large mural of lush, vibrant foliage set against the backdrop of an urban environment, specifically juxtaposed with a high-rise building. The mural’s photographic quality and the large scale on which it is painted create an immersive experience, echoing the tradition of trompe-l’œil, a technique used since the Renaissance to trick the eye into perceiving painted detail as a three-dimensional environment.
The dense, richly colored plant life in the mural brings to mind the exuberant tropical scenes painted by the Post-Impressionist artist Henri Rousseau. His works often featured jungles with lush, imagined vegetation. The use of intense, saturated colors in the mural also has parallels with the Fauvist movement, where artists like Henri Matisse used vivid, non-naturalistic colors.
This fusion of naturalistic detail with a heightened color palette can also be seen as a nod to the tradition of large-scale natural history and botanical illustration, which has its roots in the detailed studies of artists and naturalists from the 17th century onwards.
In contrast to its historical references, the mural is distinctly contemporary, engaging with public art practices that bring art into communal urban spaces, often as a means of revitalization or to bring the serenity and beauty of nature into stark, man-made environments. It reflects a modern desire to reconnect with the natural world amidst urban settings.