Amsterdam-based artist Adele Renault has something of a dirty habit… Painting pigeons is one of her favourite pastimes, and perhaps for what she is known best. However, her latest book also sheds light on some of her human portraiture.
Displaying the same intimate touch whether she illuminates people or pigeons, Renault’s masterful hand brings forth feathers and wrinkles with equal precision. From her aspirational quest to paint Mike Tyson’s portrait, via many flocks of pigeons on the way, to the inhabitants of Burkina Faso, her subjects are bathed in light, avoiding direct contact with the viewer in a way that brings them close, whilst maintaining distance and a sense of privacy.
Co-founder of Unruly Gallery, alongside her partner Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman, Renault has always maintained a strong affiliation with the streets – whether it be the animals, the people from all walks of life that she encapsulates in her paintings, or the artistic movements she champions, such as Calligraffiti, Realism, Abstract Vandalism and Urban Surrealism.
This book follows Renault on her journey through many countries, cities and landscapes, charting a course through her exhibitions and projects over the past decade and beyond. As beautifully photographed as they are rendered through brush and spraypaint, Renault’s images are captured by the enormous talent of some of the world’s best street photographers, from Nika Kramer, to Colin Day, Brandon Shigeta and Martha Cooper.
With a foreword by the mighty Carlo McCormick, ‘Feathers And Faces’ weaves tales of tails and trials of humanity in a deeply compassionate way. Never leaving the subjects of her paintings overly-exposed to the gaze of the viewer, Renault treats both birds and people with an incredible respect, in the way that only a truly accomplished portrait artist can. Starting each painting with the eyes of her subject, she breathes life into each piece as she uncovers their soul, unravelling the character and the painting simultaneously.
‘Feathers And Faces’ is available from all good book stockists now.