June 28, 2018

For immediate distribution


Opening of the exhibition « Elsie's Fabulous Journey » by artist Catherine Arsenault

Grand-Métis, June 29, 2018. Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens are opening the temporary exhibition « Elsie's Fabulous Journey » by artist Catherine Arsenault this Sunday, July 1 at 1:30 pm.

Over the past year, artist-photographer Catherine Arsenault from Rimouski has visited Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens many times to create a corpus of work with two facets. The title of her project, La Fabuleuse trajectoire de Madame Elsie (Elsie’s Fabulous Journey) chose itself through the discovery of the creativity and success of her magnificent gardens. Borrowing a phrase from Reford Gardens Elsie’s Paradise, a book by Alexander Reford, her great grandson and current director of the Gardens, “Through her work, she transformed the rustic paradise of Estevan Lodge into a veritable Eden”. It is in her memory and to salute her determination that Catherine Arsenault invites us to celebrate the beauty of the horticultural achievement created by a most singular woman.

For the first part, photographic phrases offer visitors a visual poetic narrative of Les Jardins de Métis. In this succession of recent images, taken over the course of the life-cycle of the gardens in a single year, are added a selection of vintage shots taken by her husband, Robert Wilson Reford. Together, they are the witnesses of time past, time present and time future. This illustrated prose welcomes the viewer to follow a long trajectory to discover, freely and without any interpretation, her magnificent gardens. The Photographic Phrases are presented on the platform of the Grand-Métis metro, near to the Linear Garden at the entrance to Les Jardins de Métis, where a MR-63 wagon stopped last year.

The second part is on view in Estevan Lodge, where Catherine Arsenault has created an illusionist’s game that plays out in front of the viewer. Twelve tableaux photographiques (photographic paintings) are constructs of floral bouquet made of flowers picked in the Gardens and by the staff of gardeners. Left to wither, they are then photographed in her studio. To complete this still life, the artist has chosen a few flowers and stems and embroider them into the photographic paper. Catherine Arsenault presents us with her intimate and personal work with great finesse. The tiny thread that links the artist to the flowers is offered to us as a kind of garden of woven flowers. By using sewing, often associated with women’s work and deeply impregnated with historical meaning, the artist offers a perspective on manual dexterity made contemporary through photography. The creation of these tableaux photographiques shows a Victorian influence and is very much linked to the era of Elsie Reford, while at the same time illustrating the pictoral current in contemporary art.

Catherine Arsenault wishes to thank the gardeners of Les Jardins de Métis who accompanied her in picking specimens of flowers from the flower beds, several of which, like the blue poppy, are immortalized in one of the works. The residency of Catherine Arsenault has been made possible by a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

About Catherine Arsenault
Born in Rimouski in 1960, Catherine Arsenault has been inspired by nature since her childhood and by the exploration of the many sensations felt through observation. After studying fine arts at the Cégep de Rimouski and in photography at the Cégep de Matane, she began living in Montreal in 1982 to pursue a career in photography and there took part in many solo and group exhibitions. In the years following the birth of her two sons, her photographic approach began to become more and more intimate and autobiographical. In 1996, she took charge of the studio of photographer Jean-François Bérubé, with whom she shares her life and her interest in photography. With the creation in 2011 of the Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie that brings together many of the best-known figures in photography, Catherine became an advisor to the programming and presentation of exhibitions. She left this position in 2015 to concentrate on her own projects and to live and work in Rimouski. She has long sought ways in which to combine photography and gardening, two practices that are central to her existence. Since 2012, she has concentrated her work on bringing together photography, naturalized plants and embroidery. http://www.catherinearsenault.ca.

About Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens
National historic site, Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens is recognized as one of the great gardens of North America. The gardens were created by Elsie Reford from 1926 to 1958. Open to the public since 1962, they are a must-see attraction for those visiting the Gaspésie and the Lower St. Lawrence regions of Québec. A visit of the historic gardens and the historic Estevan Lodge is complemented by a wide-ranging program of cultural events in the visual arts, music, literature and the environment. The International Garden Festival presents 25 contemporary installations that are playful and interactive as well as La Grande Table, a culinary festival that offers new tastes and flavours built on Québec’s unique culinary heritage.

Elsie Reford is at the heart the programming for Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens for 2018. A new permanent exhibition Elsie through the eyes of….offers visitors an opportunity to explore the life of this woman who was passionate about politics, philanthrophy and nature. 

Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens are open every day until Sunday, October 7, 2018. Admission is free for children 13 and under. Visit www.refordgardens for further information.

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Source : 
Sylvain Legris, Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens

For an interview please contact Mélanie Gauthier at 418 775-2222, extension 228 or by email melanie.gauthier@jardinsdemetis.com.



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