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“The Fabulous Trajectory of Lady Elsie” in Québec

Submitted by on August 1, 2018 – 8:05 amNo Comment

Catherine Arsenault, Quebec, Canada“The fabulous trajectory of Mrs. Elsie” is an exhibition saluting Elsie Reford, who developed between 1926 and 1958 of Les Jardins de Métis at Métis, Quebec, Canada, between 1926 and 1958. (They’re also known as the Reford Gardens.)

During the past year, the artist-photographer Catherine Arsenault visited the gardens often in order to make a body of work in two stages. The title of this project, “The Fabulous Trajectory of Lady Elsie”, covers the planning and execution of the gardens.

Initially, photographs offer visitors a poetic visual narrative of the Gardens. The sequence of images, taken during an annual life cycle in the gardens, intermingle with photographs of Elsie’s husband, Robert Wilson Reford. This sequence is presented on the platform of the Grand-Métis subway station, near the linear garden at the Reford Gardens entrance, where an MR-63 car stopped last year.

Secondly, at the Villa Estevan, Arsenault creates a set of “unsettling” illusions to the viewer by presenting, in twelve photographic paintings, a reconstruction of “life cycle” of a bouquet of flowers picked at the gardens and left to wither in the studio. To complement these productions, the artist chose some of the flowers and stems, and sewed them on the photographic paper.

Born in Rimouski, Québec, in 1960, Catherine Arsenault has since childhood been inspired by nature. After studying fine arts at Cégep de Rimouski and photography at the Cégep de Matane, she moved to Montréal in 1982 to pursue photography and participate in several joint and solo exhibitions. She left in 2015 to concentrate on her own projects, and returned to live in Rimouski.

A National Historic Site of Canada and a Québec heritage site, the gardens have been open to the public since 1962. Les Jardins de Métis are open daily until closing for the season October 7, 2018.

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