In the wake of Seasons (2010), an equally beguiling barrage of simple images demonstrating this French illustrator’s unusual technical command and sharp powers of observation.
Screen printed on pleasantly rough paper in a limited range of colors, each of the over 200 figures (one per page, with rare exceptions) is composed of a few sharply distinct, realistically formed elements. They float beneath a large word or phrase that identifies a familiar activity (“Sleeping”), occupation (“Rabbi,” “Balloon Pilot”) or personal feature (“Amputee”). Many are paired with the facing image, often to witty effect: “Spy” follows “Eavesdropper”; a “Contortionist” and a “Plumber” adopt similar poses; the wintry breath of a man “Shivering” echoes that of one “Smoking.” Though most sport pink skin and contemporary western clothing, Blexbolex extends his purview with, for instance, two Maasai “Warriors” leaping, an Asian “Heroine” brandishing sais, a “Cowboy” and a “Pirate” in traditional garb—not to mention a “Corpse,” a green-skinned “Alien,” a “Mermaid” and a variety of humanoids from myth and legend such as “Cyclops” and “Demon.” The artist could have made more of an effort to be nonsexist in his language (“Fireman”) and exemplars (“Secretary,” “Waitress”), but the overall diversity and visual harmony complement the sheer tactile pleasure of turning the pages to create, cumulatively, an unusually rich browsing experience.
A memorable gallery of humanity (and its outliers). (Picture book. 6-9)