A Powerful Portfolio Speaks for a Nonverbal Artist

by Carolyn Edlund

An emerging artist who creates from an existential place speaks directly to the viewer in a raw, emotional form.

 

Abstract artist Cecile Lobert is a highly creative and prolific painter. She also has profound autism. Recognizing her talent and expressive dramatic style, her family has acted as advocates in order to bring an awareness of her abilities. I recently spoke with Louise Lobert, the sister of the artist. Louise shared her thoughts on what Cecile has to say visually and emotionally, and the visceral impact of her work.

 

Bold abstract painting by Cecile Lobert

“Mid-March 2020” acrylic on canvas, 90cm x 90cm

 

AS: What is Cecile’s background and how did she start painting?

LL:  We were born to parents whose primary passions were music, architecture, sculpture and painting. From tribal art exhibited on Louis XVI furniture to Hindu religious deities in the family living room, her immersion in the arts started at a very young age. So although she is a self-taught artist, this exposure may have impacted her in one way or another. This upbringing might also account for why she has had such an inclination for painting since her late teens.

It started on regular paper and rapidly progressed to painting on walls, which wasn’t at all something our parents appreciated! At that juncture in time I thought of buying her a canvas, while I was in search of a piece of art for my own apartment. Ever since, Cecile has been demanding canvases of all sizes.

 

Artist Cecile Lobert

Artist Cecile Lobert

 

AS:  Why did you feel it was important to share her art with the world? What did you hope to accomplish?

LL:  Art has many purposes, taking on its own meaning and effect for each person. However, I feel we’ve reached a point in art history where we want to be challenged rather than be dictated to about what should elevate us. This challenge we seek is what we find elevating. It forces us to stretch our minds and dig up emotions we never thought we had. What Cecile offers is a window into a human consciousness that is physiologically free from everything ours is comprised of.

 

Abstract artwork by autistic painter Cecile Lobert

“Then and Now” acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 70cm x 100cm

 

This isn’t only interesting, but sets a unique challenge. It is one that we’ve perhaps never been faced with before: that of empathizing with our own bare consciousness or in other words, our inborn core or true self, untouched by our history, social and cultural upbringing, education, and so forth. What and who are we truly, without any conditioning? Would it be possible to enter our 30s without any baggage or “lessons learnt”? If yes, what would this look like?

Thanks to Cecile’s unique wiring, her compositions are the answer to these questions and the vehicle needed to discover an untouched core within us. All we need to do is put in the work when interacting with her compositions. We must bring down our guard and barriers, and allow her art to work on us as directly as possible.

 

Bold abstract painting by Cecile Lobert

“Early July 2020” acrylic on canvas, 75cm x 115cm

 

AS:  What steps have you taken to present her portfolio?

LL:  To our surprise, the small steps we took to showcase her portfolio have blown up completely. I think this is why we’re talking about Cecile Lobert today—because of the impressive organic growth and interest she’s received from art lovers. Our family merely did what she would have done for herself if she were verbal. We ask ourselves, “What would she do right now?” “Where would she choose to exhibit?” “Who would she want to work with?” and we try to be as close to that truth as possible.

We’re here to enable her by acting as a conduit between her workshop and the world, but no more. So far, it’s all been about showing her projects to art connoisseurs and art lovers. We are carefully selecting which offers to accept based on what we think she’d want to participate in.

 

Dynamic and dark abstract painting by Cecile Lobert created during the pandemic

“End of May 2020” acrylic on canvas, 75cm x 115cm

 

AS:  What type of response have you received?

LL: Luckily, she’s been met with enthusiasm by a broad audience. They start off being interested and end up being moved. It’s been extremely rewarding to observe the journey people go through, starting from an intellectual critique-like viewpoint and progressively responding emotionally as  they intellectually analyze her work. People have favorite projects and favorite compositions from these projects.

 

Art exhibition featuring the works of artist Cecile Lobert

Cecile Lobert’s work was featured in a solo exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

I’ve heard many say they “completely understand her” after browsing through her portfolio. This shook me, as Cecile’s nonverbal communication outside of art is rarely understood by those outside her circle. To witness such understanding and empathy vis-à-vis her work is not only moving for us, but for Cecile herself.

We recently showed her a video of her solo show in Dubai. I cannot describe the expression she had on her face. She is someone who hasn’t embodied success and reward the way we (unfortunately) have. Such exposure is an opportunity to quite literally be heard, and this is extraordinary given that she is nonverbal. More importantly, this is a unique opportunity for art lovers and collectors to experience something we rarely could before.

 

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. Powerful indeed!! I get that she is encouraging us go within and connect with our true being. Her artistic talent is invaluable. Thank you for sharing her story.

  2. It’s been extremely rewarding to observe the journey people go through, starting from an intellectual critique-like viewpoint and progressively responding emotionally as they intellectually analyze her work.

    avarana-shakti vikshepa-shakti

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