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Alexis Ralaivao Paintings Are A Peek At Intimacy

alexis ralaivao paintings IIHIH

French artist Alexis Ralaivao began creating a series of artworks in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests. A prisoner of the quarantine, he began to paint ‘snapshots’ of his girlfriend with whom he was confined. The results are a series of personal Alexis Ralaivao paintings that peek at intimacy.

Alexis Ralaivao Paintings

Alex Ralaivao paintings
Perles en cascade (Cascading Pearls) 65 x 51 cm, oil on canvas, 2021

Born in Rennes, France, Alexis is the son of a Madagascan father and a French mother whose mixed ethnicity is central to his practice as a painter. The 30 year old self-taught artist focuses exclusively on representations of African, mixed-race, and other nonwhite residents of France in his oil paintings.

La culotte (The panties) », 81 x 60 cm, oil on canvas, 2020

Although he also paints faces and full portraits, it’s Alex Ralaivao’s paintings of close-up depictions of the human body which caught our eye on Instagram.

figurative paintings
Le Collier (the collar) 100 x 73 cm, oil on canvas, 2020
Belly Button, 61 x 46 cm oil on canvas, 2020

In France, during the quarantine, Ralaivao was confined to a small apartment with his girlfriend. Left to be inspired by that which was around him, he began to capture intimate moments with her in paint, like a visual diary of his life under quarantine.

Cleopatra 60 x 60 cm, oil on canvas, 2021
La morale (the moral) 92 x 73 cm, Oil on canvas, 2020
black contemporary artists
La boucle (the loop) , 100 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 2020

Imbued with subtle sexuality, Alexis Ralaivao’s paintings are rendered so softly in oils they almost appear diffused. Ralaivao uses a muted palette to depict the glimpse of a navel, the curve of a buttock, or beckoning decolletage. Spare pieces of adornment, such as a necklace or an earring embellish the flesh and hint at the woman behind them.

alexis ralaivao painting
Chaleur hivernale (Winter Heat) 146 x 114 cm Oil on canvas 2021.jpg
alexis ralaivao art
a recent work in progress posted on Instagram by the artist

Ralaivao recently had his first US solo show at New York’s ATM gallery. You can follow him on Instagram @oavialar

alexis ralaivao
The Artist in his studio, courtesy of @oavialar

all images courtesy of Alexis Ralaivao