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Pilar, 1984

Catherine Viollet
  • Artist (1955)

The human figure has pride of place in the work of the painter Catherine Viollet, who was born in 1953 in Chambéry. Her early works, tinged with Expressionism, show an interest in portraits and bodies framed within a highly colourful pictorial space (Nu jaune, 1982; Les mains déliées, 1985). Without aiming at an exact representation of the model, Viollet looks for a pose and a rhythm which are part of the sketch of the gesture and the energy of the colour. This issue of line and colour is always topical in her work. The artist writes: “My work questions de-liaison and suspension, essentially in the space of the picture. Although they often play together, drawing and colour are distant, a metaphor of the link and the absence of link.” So colour does not disturb the drawing but is superposed on it in a form of weightlessness, freedom and balance that we can see in the canvas acquired by the FRAC Centre, Pilar. “I am convinced that things are overlaid but do not touch: we are in stratification, not in fusion.” After studying at the Quimper School of Fine Arts and the School of Decorative Arts in Nice, she was associated with the Free Figuration painters of the 1980s in the exhibition Finir en beauté/Ending With a Flourish. Her acrylics on canvas, and her oils and charcoal on canvas thus waver between figuration (Tendre, 2003) and abstraction (Le jour des docks, 2004; La Carète, 2006).

Nadine Labedade