Faithful to her singular style, in an incessant back and forth between painting and photography, Catherine Balet brilliantly mixes the imaginary with the real to tame the infinite versatility of nature over the seasons. The Endless series, a true ode to life, is an invitation to embrace the inescapable force of time.
Installed in the countryside for a few years, it is near the pond located below her studio that the artist found serenity during the first confinement in May 2020. Time has stopped there and the place, with its silent beauty, became her laboratory, a source of daily and continuous wonder. Nature, both powerful and benevolent, complex and harmonious, invited her to rethink the world in the style of the English gardens of her childhood.
Like a botanist explorer, Catherine photographed plants and flowers, keeping a logbook of diversity and evolution with the seasons. From the shimmering colors of spring to the shades of gray of winter, the photographer immortalized the chromatic field. With each seasonal cycle, she captured the specificity of the transformations of light, the graphics of the leaves and the geometry of the branches.
It is on this basis that the real work of photographic research then began. In the spirit of her previous series “Moods in a Room”, Catherine Balet superimposes clichés, plays with transparencies, thus creating a pictorial accumulation in the form of a digital collage, with, in the background, photos of her own paintings. These paintings, produced for the occasion and inspired by shots taken under a microscope, in turn take up the geometric, fragmented and abstract shapes of plant cells. The touch of the brush, the gestures of the hand underline the relief which shows through and contributes to the richness of the material.
The human figure is rare in her images, only represented by playing children or a tiny silhouette, a detail that fits into the ecosphere, a part that fits into the whole. Through her singular style, the artist invites us to see the relationship between Cosmos and micro-organisms, navigating from the infinitely small to the immensity of her landscapes where humans could be a simple spectator but ultimately a component of this Cosmos.
The Endless series is characterized by four very large triptychs, each representing a season, and is also punctuated by smaller formats symbolizing the off-season. And because they deal with the mystery of nature, the artist chose to make these large prints in a format based on the golden ratio, this “divine proportion” which governs the harmonious mathematical relationship between the parts and the whole, omnipresent in nature, the fruit of more than two thousand years of reflection on the links which unite nature and our perception of space.
A series in the image of Nature, both powerful and benevolent, complex and harmonious, which invites us to rethink the world.
About Catherine Balet: A graduate of the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Catherine Balet began her artistic career as a painter before moving into photography in the early 2000s. Her photographic work then took on a sociological dimension. Her series of portraits of teenagers entitled “Identity” anchors her work in contemporary reality. With “Strangers in the Light”, she incorporated a pictorial dimension like paintings playing on chiaroscuro. Her next series, “Looking for the Masters in Ricardo’s Golden Shoes” pays a vibrant tribute to the masters of photography by featuring her friend and model, Ricardo Martinez Paz. More recently, in her series entitled “Moods in a Room”, Catherine Balet continued her experimental approach by reinvesting the technical transformations of the photographic medium she questions the border that separates painting from photography.
Catherine Balet : Endless
from May 19 to July 9, 2022
18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
75004 Paris, France