Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Galerie Art Zone

Very few people know of Die, the administrative centre of the Diois, a small and fascinatingly varied 'Pays' tucked into a corner of the Drome, almost but not quite Alpine.  Transitional, intensely individual, a touch bohemian, and only lightly populated.  Die is a big village with the services of a town, its own cathedral, a distinctive and independent culture.

Catherine Medico's Atelier Galerie Art Zone reflects the virtues of this unusual place.  An eclectic selection of work by local artists.  At first glance a somewhat baffling collection of sculptures, jewellery, furniture, glasswork and, at the moment, photography.  But the richness and breadth of the collection reward frequent visits.

Catherine's work calls for a catalogue of individual images to illustrate its artistry, inventiveness, humour, sometimes Gothic intensity, and of course craftsmanship.  Assembled from cast-off everyday objects that most of us could see no more use for, her creations have taken on a life of their own and have become a range of self-sufficient characters  -  birds, fishes, and some of those surprising people who pass you in the street.  Most of us forget passing characters until we see them again.  Catherine recreates them with the precision of three dimensional cartoons. 

A visit to GAZ will change your appreciation of a tea strainer, a pair of old sugar tongs, a discarded knife and fork, a crystal wine glass, an old bottle or who knows what else.  The whole is greater than the parts.  The impact of the finished piece at first disguises the structure, usually something that we or our ancestors carelessly threw away.

Apart from Catherine's work, the birds, the fishes and the flying beasts, she represents in her gallery the work of a number of other local artists.  At the moment, some of our Papua New Guinea prints.  Finely crafted wooden furniture from Jean Laigret.  Lucie Yvon's paintings.  Constance Hirsch's inventive wire sculptures - expressive minimalism.  Senegalese birds from Dorothee DuFour and Assan Deme.

Jewellery by Christelle Rigaud.  Glasswork from Aimee Langlet.  Also more of Catherine's provocative pieces.

Metal furniture, benches, display stands and even lighting, elegantly designed, welded and finished by Bruno Croiset.

 The collection changes.  If only there were more space.  Last year, amongst other works, the Gallery exhibited some superb dresses and shawls from exquisite fabrics, all made and designed by a local artist.  

There is no shortage of talent and choice of works that deserve more than local recognition.  Die can offer only a small market for its over-abundance of talented and inventive artists.  Thanks to Catherine's atelier GAZ, there are opportunities in Die and, after that, who knows.

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