Catherine Maria Chapel
Trained young in watercolour and painting by Luigi Tomaso d’Elia, Chapel’s career as an artist truly begins with a residency at the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation (Connecticut) in 2006. Here, the subject of landscape which dominated up until then found a more abstract form where the contemplative meets the sensorial. If we have always identified in Chapel’s work an undoubted fascination for art at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, notably the Symbolists — the mystical dimension of an artist like Odilon Redon — the artist’s work is perfectly of her time. In the exhibitions Lands Glimpsed (2008) and Crossings (2010) the landscape was a ‘pretext’ but the body and the being in relation to physical and mental space were already in place. A parallel work with photography underlines her interest in planes, transparency and movement, and her very distinct palette. Chapel’s work has especially been shown in France, lately in the Female Landscapes show at Drawing Now 2011 — The Contemporary Drawing Fair, Paris.
“How do one or a few figures in a dream come alive in our mind? How does the fugitive memory of a dream have the power to fabricate ghost like appearances of a person without any precise idea of their representation? Such questions interrogate the mechanics of our internal visions, evanescent apparitions that make up the dreamlike bodies. The part played by voices is no less enigmatic: what voices do we hear whilst dreaming? Do we not hear the voices of people come from who knows where? The bodies in dreams are fragmented, open to sensations, escaping representation.
Here, Catherine Maria Chapel places us in contact with a dreamlike memory of bodies in movement, bodies murmuring the language of dreams. Adam and Eve have not yet opened their eyes; they have not discovered their nudity. Far from being static, in rigid representations, the bodies are inhabited with diffuse sensations, from which presences emerge of spring colours, with the smells of the earth and skies. Marcel Duchamp liked to say: “the viewers make the painting”. Here, ageless people seeming to come out of the paper appeal to the internal echo, an intimate reverberation of our relation to dreams. Ghosts, evanescent apparitions, give birth to what was in waiting, in suspense of existence.
These figures question: disqualifying theoretical knowledge they summon another way of thinking oneself divided, as is the fleeting and fleeing memory of dreams: while a form would like to emerge, oblivion ensures that it is forgotten. Like a musical memory, this memory is not fixed, sometimes giving the strange impression of not retaining anything. Taking the time to listen to these artworks gives time to the gaze to create a space for itself. A time space can then exist where the gaze, like hearing, knows it is heard."
— Vincent Estellon, Psychoanalyst