‘nar·ra·tive : the practice or art of telling stories’ to Open at Philippe Labaune Gallery in Chelsea



Mathieu Bablet, Tribute to Moebius, 2022, China ink and watercolor, 19 x 15 inches. Image courtesy of the gallery.

Philippe Labaune Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition “nar·ra·tive”, an exhibition of illustrations and strips created by twelve artists from Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Showcasing works of artists from different cultures, backgrounds, and training, “nar·ra·tive” will offer a swift yet intricate look into the world of comic art and illustration. In either color or black and white, the art presented on the gallery walls will demonstrate the undertaking involved in creating a visual expression that stems from words on a page or simple ideas, while keeping the various stories’ nuances and secrets intact for the reader. With this exhibit, we hope to reveal the artists’ extraordinary ability to pair one’s words or thoughts with drawings in a seamless and intricate way.

On display will be several recent works highlighting the recurring theme of the gallery: storytelling through images.

Mathieu Bablet, Tribute to Moebius, 2022, China ink and watercolor, 19 x 15 inches. Image courtesy of the gallery.

From the architectural and dystopian sci-fi world imagined by French artist, Mathieu Bablet, who using his futuristic ingenuity transports us in a universe without any logical boundaries filled with not only complex landscapes and architecture which allows the reader to dive into his world, but also great characters, emotions, and tension that leap out of the page and bring the story forward, to Ian Bertram’s fantastic world whose three large drawings will put in full display the extent of his craftmanship by showcasing his precise mark making which brings texture and makes time visible to the human eye and a dark futuristic vison so distinctive of the young artist whose style cannot be fully articulated into words.

Using simple China ink and pastels, Italian artist Liberatore demonstrates, through an homage to superheroes, that narrative art has no real boundaries, and that all the strengths of a classically trained and established artist are just tools for him to use, while remaining playful, ironic, and spirited. In the same line, renowned American artist, Paul Pope, whose graphic novel “Battling Boy” debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list, will demonstrate through one simple black and white illustration, the full power of narrative art.

Georges Bess, Frankenstein – Page 8, 2021, China ink on paper, 22.75 x 18.25. Image courtesy of the gallery

On the other end of this spectrum, we will again put the spotlight on Georges Bess. Recognized as a master of ink in Europe, and of course for his long collaboration with renowned Chilean French artist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, we will showcase five strips never seen before from his latest graphic novel “Frankenstein”. In the same monochromatic style, Paul Azaceta is presenting a gigantic homage to French master, Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. Using his classic bold, black, and white palette, Azaceta provides a depth to this composition reserved to a very selective group of comic artists.

Emerging artist, Jonathan Barravecchia, uses acrylic and multimedia to pay homage to Moebius through two colorful, off-focus drawings and one personal piece which fully highlights his mastering of the medium, incorporating oil and watercolor, and sentiments of impressionism alongside more traditional graphics techniques. Pushing through the frontiers of narrative art, artist Mor is showing her stencil work with an amazing “Wolf” to scale. However, such an artist could not be confined to one medium and will also present a large China ink drawing. With these artists, we hope to be able to unveil the new wave of American narrative art.

Didier Cromwell, Souffler n’est pas jouer Page 44 of 3rd Album: “Journal d’une Emmerdeuse”/ Ed. Akileos, 2017 Acrylic and china ink on Fabriano paper 300g 24 x 18 inches. Image courtesy of the gallery.

On view will also be three splash pages from “Anita Bomba” by Didier Cromwell. With his most famous sci-fi character, the French artist, using acrylic and vivid colors, is clearly pushing the boundaries between comic art and pop art. Belgian artist, Alain Poncelet, explores another side of fantasy by offering a short erotic story composed of six illustrations, simply focusing on the beauty of the woman’s body transported by hedonistic pleasures. Rajive Anand will introduce, through strips and illustrations, the first American Indian superhero: Laserman; doing so without compromising his rich cultural heritage and yet revealing the classic American touch of a young man from Brooklyn.

Finally, the gallery is honored to display a large illustration of a corner street in Tel Aviv by emerging Israeli illustrator Avi Katz, whose inspiration from Nicolas de Crecy to Art Spiegelman is a testament to the longevity and the global impact of the Ninth Art.

nar·ra·tive : the practice or art of telling stories will be on view from June 23 to September 3, 2022, with Opening Reception on June 23rd from 6:30 to 9:00pm at Philippe Labaune Gallery, 534 West 24th Street, Ground Floor, NYC.

Founded in 2021, Philippe Labaune Gallery is devoted to championing and presenting original 20th and 21st century comic art and illustrations by emerging and established artist from around the world. For sales inquiries, please contact Philippe Labaune at: phil@philippelabaune.com.