Nadia B

A painter who defines beauty and meaning in the empty spaces of a canvas
Abstract Writing
How did you come to realise your medium and style of paintings? What influenced you?
It took a long time… years, to be honest. Then, I started to paint abstract works on big canvases, like swathes of colour. If I look back, I realise I was scared to leave an empty part on the canvas. I used to add coats and coats of paint.
Lack of space in my studio, I have tried to work on paper and loved it. It helped me to find the balance between negative and positive spaces, and above all, to accept the empty space.
I did dozens of drawings before being satisfied. Today, my favourite mediums are ink, gouache and paper – but I like being able to change them.
My influences are numerous: graphism, constructivism, of course, the artistic movement of the Bauhaus and minimalism. However, I also have an attraction to the Japanese aesthetic. To name a few artists who inspire me, I would say Aurélie Nemours, Marie Therese Vacossin, Satoru Satō and Sol LeWitt.
Your geometric compositions are often about the negative and positive spaces; do you frame these compositions in mind? What’s your working process?
Usually, the first step is to choose 1 or 2 colours. Then, I make small sketches with them to see if they match.
The negative space is very different depending on the colours. Then I start by drawing a line or a geometric form, and slowly and gradually, I built the artwork.
A single line can change everything, so I really take my time. I stop when I find it harmonious and never look back. I often imagine drawings in my head, but it’s more to stay creative than to achieve them exactly.
You’ve mentioned that your work is about ‘relationship, distance, missing and empty spaces.’ These are very personal and intimate emotions, expressed in strict geometric forms. How do you find a connection between organic and inorganic?
It is the basis of my work to find a balance between organic and inorganic. I like to highlight the contrasts between the intellectual side of geometry and the sensibility of abstract writing. And I think we can find beauty in math and rigour in letting go; it all depends on how you look at things. Anyway, it makes sense to me.
Everything is nuanced; dissonance can create harmony.
It’s the same thing with relationships, the solid foundations we try to build, and the lightness of our emotions. We all try to swim between recklessness and steadiness.
Your art books and love letters are so unusual; I didn’t expect to see minimal geometry with muted colours when I read the title’ love letters’. What is your reaction when you see your complete work? Are you usually satisfied with how it turns out?
‘Love letters’ is my first real series. I mean, the first time I used the same medium, the exact same sizes for such a long period. So it was new for me, and it’s something that I want to continue exploring. It brings constancy to my work.
When I see my complete work, I think I have found my way, but there is still a lot to accomplish.
I want to explore the possibilities offered by paper more than I do now. Also, I will continue to improve my binding technique for artist’s books; for now, I found them a bit messy.
About the drawings, well, I’m satisfied with the ones I keep…
In your work series, you use abstract writing; how did you develop this concept and what is abstract writing for you?
I usually doodle when I’m on the phone, and a form of writing close to the one I currently draw often appeared on my scraps of paper. Of course, I just improved it a little. But it was there, somewhere… For me, abstract writing is defined by all the words we don’t dare to say, all that remains at the thought stage. They exist but only on a conceptual level.
Do you think people fail to see the beauty and meaning in empty spaces?
Actually, I think emptiness and fullness are indissociable. We need calm to enjoy the action, as we need solitude to enjoy the company. But, I guess, empty spaces, as solitude, can be scary.  It’s a learning process to see the importance and elegance in them. They provide value to each other. Maybe some people only appreciate it unconsciously.
Funny note, last year, I brought one of my artwork to a printer to make limited editions. When he saw the drawing, he told me: ‘it would be wise to bring a finished drawing to ensure the result’.
A great moment of loneliness.
So, yes, some people fail, and it’s too bad.
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