Karine Locatelli


Artist and author

Karine Locatelli

In her practice, artist Karine Locatelli, who lives in Les Éboulements, demystifies the notion of Quebec’s nordicity, associated essentially with the whiteness of the snow, by exposing the more complex and colourful reality of the local flora. Her approach is influenced, in part, by the theories of geographer and linguist Louis-Edmond Hamelin.

Locatelli uses China ink as her main medium, applying it with a pen in the research notebooks that she takes with her during her summer travels by sailboat and bicycle – or on hunting, fishing, and gathering excursions – and on large-size canvases when winter moves in and it is time to interpret her explorations of the territory in drawings. A summer memory that she brought to Est-Nord-Est is that of her sailboat outings on the river. Fascinated by the constant movement of the water, she temporarily forsook botany to reproduce the foam behind the boat. With multiple pen strokes on canvas, she created an abstract mass of lines that evoke the elusive nature of the backwash. She titled the work Je consens à traduire l’idée de la mer (I consent to translate the idea of the ocean), a sentence drawn from artist Pierre Bourgault’s master’s thesis, which she read during her residency. In the studio adjacent to hers, she integrated this canvas into an installation, bringing it into dialogue with two sculptures composed of gelatin silver photographs printed on linen – presenting, among other things, lichen-coloured ground – and placed on piles of rocks.

During her residency, Locatelli experimented not only with drawing and photography but with the representation of the territory through ceramics, embroidery, and printing on Russian plywood. This diversity of media, combined with objects gathered from nature, gave rise to mises-en-scène of unusual environments, imbued with great poetic freedom. With this approach, she updated her region’s tradition of landscape painting by sharing her sensory and meditative experience of natural milieus, experienced from both immersive and observational positions.