Fabien Verschaere Art Statements Reviewed: July 23 Fabien Verschaere is a young French artist on the rise and fresh from a major group show at the Guangdong Museum of Art (Singuliers). His work comes out of a lifelong obsession with drawing and painting, from which he's developed a mass of symbols and icons. At once modernist, retro, childish and surreal, Verschaere's watercolours on corrugated cardboard, produced specifically for this show, have charm and originality. His complex library of characters and objects are put to use in a variety of naive but ambitious paintings, murals and installations. Overtly idiosyncratic, these symbols are ambiguously sexual, cartoon- like and occasionally disturbing. Interestingly, the choice of strong, simply painted watercolour as primary medium also suggests an artist who's unaffected by contemporary trends in apparatus and media. This combination of idiosyncratic imagery and an old-fashioned medium has helped set Verschaere's work apart. Although he's created murals and large-scale installations, this show consists of a series of large and small figurative watercolours hung on the wall, leaving the floor empty and the back half of the gallery filled with unrelated work. Due to this partial installation the exhibition appears some- what truncated and rushed. Additionally, with the brown negative space of the cardboard, the paintings come across as dark and less intense than his other images on a white ground. More generally problematic is how to consider and engage with such highly personal work. By relying on eccentric symbols, Verschaere risks alienating the audience - and, for me, this was precisely the effect.