Photo d'Irène Sturbelle

Irène Sturbelle

Irène Sturbelle is a cheerful and lively woman -and these character traits carry over into her paintings and decorative works. Her immediate or imaginary surroundings supply her with the scenery of her works as well as with the element and characters, which she brings together in charmingly, intimate scenes. Through them she wants to convey the harmonious relationship that exist- or might or should exist- among them, and to make them into meaningful image of a peaceful, if not serene world.

She enjoys the pleasure of dancing and of all kinds of music: jazz, exotic tunes ; the world of the circus with its clowns and acrobats and animals ( especially cats and dogs , as well as gentle tigers and performing elephants); she is nostalgic for her past travels and eagerly anticipates the further explorations she hopes to make, whether in reality or in her dreams: she takes in her stride all the events of life, whether pleasant or less satisfying.

Painting is her favorite activity: portraits of people, animals or houses; she designs jewels and logotypes, illustrations for books, magazines, posters and good- luck cards; she is an expert at murals painted in livings- rooms or bathrooms or airports ( her specialty is trompe- l' oeil creations that make any space look lager); she is highly appreciative of the female nude figure which she treats with gusto and a healthy appetite for all its manifestations.

Her favourite colours are subdued tints with soft transparencies and shadows. Except in her dance, circus or musical band scenes, she seems to avoid any excessive exuberance in the dynamics of her composition. When she portrays isolated characters- they are not truly portraits, but rather studies of psychological attitudes- she shows them in slightly meditative moods, often in the company of a soothing pet animal, and with a tinge of irony. The room in which they sit often contains areas- a wall, a table, a corridor- that display a subtle play of perspectives: squares that turn into lozenges, rectangles whose colouring softens in the distance or wall- patterns that begin to wobble. If we try to detect any kind of connection with an artistic style of the past, cubism might be the answer, but in an unobtrusive, attenuated way. Some far- away influence of an African or broadly exotic leaning can be felt, more in play and as a joke than in actual imitation.

A gentle degree of optimism and humour pervades all her work. Irène enjoys deeply but without effusiveness all delightful moments, sights, perceptions, emotions that life offers, and she tries to exorcise any possible unpleasantness by gently caricaturing the sad spectacle they present.

Wim Toebosch