Beauty in Banality

The Drawings of Martinet and Texereau

Zoé Textereau (b.1986) and Pauline Martinet (b.1987) are two artists from Paris, France whose oeuvre is composed of graphite drawings of many places they have visited, among them Los Angeles.

I found their work on Instagram. Their architectural drawings of Los Angeles find beauty in banality. Perhaps because there are no people in these images, they have an affinity with our present time of desolation and isolation.

They are all something marvelous, an illustration of our city, seen through the eyes of two French artists, a revelation of form, geometry, shadow, texture and shape.

Our built mistakes: the round driveways, the fake pillars, the long awninged walk into an apartment house, the vinyl window and vertical blinds on a stucco wall, the landscaped lake of gravel around a palm tree, the steel security door, the tarp covered car in the driveway of the deluxe house with arched porch and glued on stone walls, and the randomly laid flagstone wall illuminated at night; these are their subjects.

Los Angeles is an artificial encampment watered by imported irrigation, stitched together by freeways and endless streets, baked in sunshine, built in discordance, promoted and extolled for no good honest reason. We have no ensemble of unity in our buildings, no public squares, no grand arches, no central gathering place. Tens of thousands are camped out in trash along the roads and under the overpasses. Those who own property pave their gardens, puncture the skies with revenue producing billboards; they construct monstrosities and guard them with guns and security cameras, they venture out from patrolled properties in tinted windows, sunglasses, and breathing masks.

But Textereau and Martinet find beauty in our banality. We can too.

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