L’Atlas – Phosphenes

By Jill Thayer, Ph.D., Contributing Writer, ARTPULSE Magazine, Miami, December, 2015

1 December 2015 – 6 February 2016, Lelia Mordoch Gallery, Miami

"Persistance 3," 2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 47 x 47 inches (120 x 120cm)

“Persistence 3,” 2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 47 x 47 inches (120 x 120cm)

I think life is energy and also calligraphy is energy, painting is the translation of pure energy[1]. L’Atlas 

Phosphenes, L’Atlas’ solo exhibition at Leila Mordoch Gallery, Miami features 14 canvases and a selection of pieces from his recent show at Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris. The series align with the artist’s methodologies in the expanded field of public art.

French artist Jules Dedet Granel, aka. L’Atlas creates vector-based installations that form a semiological language of Op Art and Geometric Abstraction. His paintings evoke the grid patterns of Mondrian, the optical illusions of M.C. Escher and Vasarely, and the perceptual juxtapositions of Bridget Riley. L’Atlas, much like Riley, engages the viewer in the process of observation, but also, in the interaction of it.

The work is produced with flat and fluorescent pigments applied in a mixed-technique using aérosol on laque. Multi-colored stripes of horizontal and vertical lines criss-cross in a dynamic color field of dayglo and metallic paints. The optical illusions are mesmerizing in vibrating hues that channel Albers’ language of color.

"Close-Up No. 5," Mixed-media on canvas, 47 inches diameter (120cm).

“Close-Up No. 5,” 2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 47 inches diameter (120cm).

Close-Up No. 5, 2013, 120cm diameter offers a visual dialog set on a circular plane. A base pattern of white and grey vertical bars connect here and there with short horizontal paths. Diagonal stripes of warm and cool neutrals add tint and tone to geometric forms like shadows passing over the undulations of a building in late afternoon.

Persistence 3, 2013, 120 x 120cm appears random in its devised motif composed on a background of bright apple green. A layer of silver horizontal lines mediates an aura of intensity, further defined by a black ruled code.

"Persistance 4," 2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 47 x 47 inches (120 x 120cm)

“Persistance 4,” 2013, Mixed-media on canvas, 47 x 47 inches (120 x 120cm)

Persistence 4, 2013, 120 x 120cm breaks tradition, as an under painting of orange stripes glows with soft edges that gently rests behind vertical columns of silver. A top layer of bold black lines unifies the piece in a De Stijl-like presence of abstract and constructivist elements. The columns resemble metal framework exposing a sunlit bank of office windows across the way.

The installation features daylight and blacklight views to optimize fluorescent properties of the series. The gallery becomes a sacred space of perceptual phenomena, as a psychedelic era is reincarnated.

L’Atlas deftly traverses the resonance of his projects in an en pointe approach that challenges inquiry. Phosphenes is a statement in perception and visual culture––drawing upon the cuneiforms of history in the earliest systems of writing. L’Atlas’ offers a new paradigm that transpires language in the contemporary contexts of a globalized world.

L’Atlas’ recent show at Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris.

L’Atlas’ recent show at Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris.


[1] Hinke, Fernanda. ‘Interview with spiritual-mystic Paris graffiti artist L’Atlas,” Underground Paris. 2002. Online. Retrieved from http://undergroundparis.org/latlas-interview.

Jill Thayer, Ph.D. is an artist, educator, and curatorial archivist. She is faculty at Santa Monica College in Art History: Global Visual Culture, and Post University, Malcolm Baldrige School of Business MBA program in Integrative Strategies. Her oral history narratives, “In Their Own Words: Oral Histories of CGU Art,” featuring Claremont Graduate University professors emeritus and contemporary artists are included in Archives of American Art at The Smithsonian Institution.