Since returning to photography in 2011, Catherine Rondeau has been exploring the connections between the fairy tales and identity construction. Her research has led her to develop an expertise in digital imagery manipulation. Favoring natural light and spontaneity when shooting her base material, she then plays with the visual elements in order to compose surreal tableaus that blur the boundaries between truth and falsehood. From this fine intertwinement of fiction and reality emerges a whimsical form of storytelling. Each image draws the spectator into a parallel world that summons back, much like dreams do, an emotion or a mental mechanism.
Constant throughout the photographer’s practice is her preoccupation for aesthetics and sensibility. An opposing stance, it might seem, to the conceptual and cerebral turn taken by modern art a century ago. Electing to work in unusual and carefully composed environments – either with her own children as models or by way of self-figuration – certainly contributes to the gentle strangeness that characterises Rondeau’s distinctive photographic style. In keeping with the normal the psychological pressures that punctuate the quest for one’s Self, she nonetheless instills tensions in her chiseled settings in order to titillate the spectator and incite a re-examination of the image, a pursuit for meaning. Drawing from pre-abstraction classical techniques, all the while eliciting the viewers active participation in the decoding of different levels of interpretation, sums up the artist’s contemporary practice. So though Marcel Duchamp’s urinal is said to have killed Beauty in favour of Meaning, Rondeau claims the freedom to pursue both the concept of beauty and intellectual reflection in her work.