Born in 1972 (Nantes), Frédéric Léglise graduated the ENSBA (École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts) and currently lives and works in Paris, being also an art professor at ESAD-GV (École Supérieure d'Art de Grenoble - Valence). In the early stages of his work, he was more of an abstract painter, after having tried different mediums, such as sculpture and installation. During his abstract period, he was deeply influenced by Willem de Kooning, (an artist who, more than often, called for style pluralism and who considered that art should not have an unique style). His main subjects - female portraits, nudity and self-portraits – seem to be classical only at first glance, as the artistic approach is quite contemporary. Even though there is a certain similarity between the painted character and the model, these portraits do not belong to the realistic genre. Photography may very well be the starting point of his paintings, nevertheless, various „working tools” are added, so as to create the narrative of his canvases.
The characters are „extracted” from their initial context of belonging, any connection with the recognizable reality disappears. Initially placed in white spaces, these characters are „suspended” from time and space dimensions, and so appears an isolation of the figure and a transformation of the space around the model into a light-reflecting surface. The artist „transforms” the background against which the model is depicted: for example, bed draping becomes abstract ink. Furthermore, Leglise manipulates the perspective on his characters who, in his recent creation, appear to float through space. The geometric and the floral patterns to be found on his models’ cloths bring out the picturality of his works.
Frédéric Léglise brings back figurative painting and just like other artists, such as Alex Katz, Karen Kilimnick, Elizabeth Peyton, Matthew Cerletty, Ridley Howard, and David Hockney, is deeply influenced by cinema. His small-size portraits become cinema close-ups, which – just like in cinema – create the highest level of intimacy.
. The „Artist and Model” exhibition selectively shows four stages of the the artist's work: the abstract period, the white period, the more intense coloured sequence of his creation (after the residence in MANA Center, New York) and the self-portrait of the artist. Since 2010, the artist focuses primarily on the representation of Asian female characters (influenced as many artists by his life partner who is a Chinese artist).
In the relation between artist and model an important role is played by the identification process. The artist interferes with his characters in a flowing and ambivalent process that can undergo changes. An important role has the artist gaze toward the model (which is an essential piece in the analysis of the whole process).
The work of Frédéric Léglise is built under the sign of authenticity having as its central element the feminine figure. For the artist painting is „an act of love” and through the sensuality of the women he represents, he actually depicts the sensuality of the painting.