This month, Cypress College art instructor Paul Paiement exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris during a special event. Annual art fair Le Carrousel du Louvre took place October 18-20 and included artists selected by a committee, based on nominations. Paul’s European art dealer Adelinda Allegretti submitted his work for consideration.
“It’s a huge honor to exhibit my paintings in the largest and most prestigious art museum in the world,” Paul said. “Drilling a screw into the same walls that house Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ was an incredible experience.”
Paiement selected four paintings from his Nexus series to exhibit. He was able to complete these paintings during a sabbatical from teaching at Cypress, a period in which he says he was “more prolific than I’ve ever been.”
The resulting work was well received at the show; Paul says the pieces created a lot of dialogue among visitors, and his painting ‘Nexus — Ronan, Montana’ was selected and published in the exhibition catalog.
“It was all very real,” Paul said. “By real, I mean tangible. I’ve read, seen documentaries, and heard stories about the Louvre. It’s has a ‘larger than life’ mythology. It has the largest and most comprehensive art collection the world has ever seen. Assisting the museum staff in the installation of my artwork was very real.”
The work exhibited in Paris was painstakingly created. Paul says during the school year, one of his paintings can take anywhere from 3-14 months to complete; during his sabbatical, his goal has been to complete one painting a month — based on a 40-60 hour week. The sabbatical continues until spring 2020 but even when Paul returns he will find a way to continue on this creative streak.
“I don’t find time to create — I create time to create art,” he says. While teaching, he commits to working in his studio three to five days a week.
Paul’s Nexus series bridges natural backdrops and engineered structures. It incorporates the elements that inspire him.
“I draw inspiration from concepts and questions about our reality. Questions like who are we? Who am I? What is nature? Am I part of nature? I hope these concepts are communicated to the viewer in my paintings.”