Comte draws from a hyper-eclectic range of sources and picks unashamedly from all creative fields, from design, theatre, garden and interior architecture, from fashion and fine arts. All sources of inspiration, of original, copied, fake or other crepuscule nature, are treated equally. No matter if she makes a polychrome car-lacquered MDF floor sculpture based on Homer Simpson's carpet, or a series of shaped canvases featuring black-and-white line paintings, Comte addresses the equally important discussions around painting today, some fifty years after Frank Stella's infamous remark (often cited in regard to the theory on the end of painting): “What you see is what you see.” Sources are flattened, interpretational hierarchies are thrown overboard. Metaphors and references are mashed-up; they are serious and rigorous in intention but retain a twinkling eye. They are always ready to burst out laughing.
As multifaceted as Comte's source material is, her output and work approach is characterized by a more traditional studio practice. She graduated in 2008 from the Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL) or, as she likes to call it, her “little house on the prairie.” Comte's training is one of academic apprenticeship: drawing, sketching, printmaking, and designing, coupled with the school's heritage and focus on geometric, neo-geo, and hardline painting. To this end, Comte's profound interest in abstract painting's practice and possibilities was fueled by her teachers, the likes of John M. Armleder, Francis Baudevin, Stéphane Dafflon or Philippe Decrauzat.
It comes as no surprise that in her graphic work, Claudia Comte likes to use such expressions as “Wham,” “Swish” and “Grr,” which employ onomatopoeia, or names that imitate the sound associated with what they signify. This is not merely meant in the literal but also in a figurative sense. Such words “spell” the phonetics of a sound and are naturally even more striking when used in image or text form. Symbolically, they are a rhetorical device that humorously underlines an action, such as in a Batman cartoon, as when the masked hero hits the villain with a forceful punch in the face: KAPOW! On a page from Comte's own Welcome to Colorful (2010), a diamond-shaped form quickly approaches, stampeding toward the reader's right-hand page, making an image-sound cloud of BAM BAM BAMs until it is close-up and filling almost the entire center page-an ironic warning spells out: “It's coming right at you!” But what is Comte warning us about? The artist's subtitles are taken from 1920s-era science-fiction movies and accompany her seemingly frugal language. If first they appear as a fragment of abstract form, Comte's warning is increasingly justified as her creations tend to repeat themselves and grow larger and more complex each time they reappear.
Comte's publication Welcome to Colorful is executed almost entirely in a set of black-and-white tones. This, then, is a narrative illustration of the artist's vision of a formalism that evolves modularly. Her vision starts in the very beginning of times, tracing the metamorphoses of basic forms and shapes, from prehistoric animal-skin patterns to more complex forms that constantly rupture into new shapes, finally morphing into something that seems to be inspired by twentieth-century abstract art. It is a playful and cartoonish journey from figuration to abstraction and back again. The publication brings together a group of modernistic works containing some preparatory studies, an intuitive series of idealized sculptures, and few abstract-geometric paintings. As such, Welcome to Colorful sums up the mechanisms and interests that lay at the base of Comte's investigation into the constitution of formalism.