The Shelter




The Shelter

74 x 107 cm

Mixed Media on Paper mounted on Wood Panel


Much like in the painting of Gustave De Smet, the work I here propose is at first sight a depiction of calm and serenity. The title I gave it is no coincidence because it is a "refuge" (The Shelter). Although mysterious through its light coming from nowhere, it refers to the night and to dreams. It is a Lynchian light.

In The Eel Fisher, we find a more realistic light with the sun on the horizon. Yet we do not know if it is dawn or the end of the day. There too, time does not precisely exist.

In The Shelter, we are moving forward in a sort of divine light that appears more surreal. Much like in dreams, it shines on the snow that covers the ground in front of the cabin, which seems abandoned. It is an isolated location like the pond of Gus De Smet. Whether in a cabin or on a boat, there is a similar feeling of loneliness and a communion with nature.

In The Shelter, although poorly insulated, the cabin remains a place to protect oneself from the cold, to hide. Sound is suffocated by the snow and one can barely perceive the wind blowing or footsteps in the distance.

However, despite its immobility, the universe of The Shelter seems more hostile than that of The Eel Fisher, because the night is much darker, and we have no information on the background. At any moment, anything could come out of the dark. A little girl, a doe, a bear, a storm or a serial killer. Yet we are drawn to this small wood house. From there we could see without being seen. It is a refuge, a hiding place, just like the pond is for this man on a boat, in the middle of nature. This light makes us feel like preys to the surrounding darkness and we can’t wait to get to that cabin. And just like the darkness, the depths of the water also hide a calm and invisible secret in the large canvas by Gustave de Smet.

Olivier Legrain (1970)

Born in Brussels in 1970, Olivier Legrain is a painter, illustrator and storyboard artist. After studying at Institut Saint Luc in Brussels, he begins to practice music and for a moment hesitates between professional drummer and illustrator.

The storyboard of IP5 (a feature film by Jean-Jacques Beineix), published in 1992, helps his choice.

Soon enough, drawing, painting, music and cinema start being more intertwined in his different professional experiences. He even makes heavy metal album covers for a while, before a few years of lay-out at TBWA, Duval-Guillaume, Publicis and other advertising companies.

His first cinema break-through is as screenwriter of the now cult Dikkenek (2006), with its golden cast and amazingly fresh and politically incorrect comedy that inspired so many films since. This first collaboration with EuropaCorp soon leads Olivier to storyboard Go Fast (2008), while collaborating with Michel Gondry’s Partizan at the same time.

Thus, storyboarding becomes Olivier’s specialty and he starts showing his work in galleries, notably at Pierre Hallet in Brussels. He works on storyboards for several film directors, among which

Du Welz, Garbarski, Roskam and Polanski.

In 2014, Olivier Legrain’s paintings are noticed by the Belgian Gallery which soon organizes the first exhibition of his work on canvas. His paintings are overly concerned with the treatment of light. Their main subject is the human body, which Legrain tortures in fleshy compositions tainted by a violent chiaroscuro. He is never afraid to use new techniques to draw and paint, ranging from ecoline, Indian ink, bleach, pastel, fat, acrylic, walnut husk and oils.