VISIONARY REVUE

VOLCANO - Roland Cat

      Over a series of canvases, the artist has repeated certain motifs, developing his own visual language. He is obsessed by strange juxtapositions, as when a small bicycle is leaned up against a huge mushroom, or when a lone animal wanders through a vast landscape. The repeating motifs of mushrooms, children's playground slides, and abandoned trains evoke a sense of nostalgia, and a longing for infant memories now forgotten. In the words of Jean-Marie Benoist: "Through the persistence of certain motifs, and through the stubborn subtlety of his details, Roland Cat evokes the same strange revery arising equally from memory, childhood, and hallucination." (50)
      In his own insightful analysis, Michel Random observes that "Roland Cat is the painter of a large oeuvre equally fantastic as it is visionary... He likes to evoke annihilated metropolises and the state of things after the deluge when the planet recovers, bit by bit, its true inhabitants - not man, but the animals. In short, a new Eden where man is absent, even if nature has changed and pushes forth mushrooms the size of monstrous trees. This, and the last remaining symbols of a consumer society: the car, the train, the armchair, the plane, giant cranes all cast about here and there. In the distance, cities and houses still impose their fantomesque architecture. In this sense, the works of Roland Cat gives us a particular chill: man no longer exists and his absence is frozen still for all time, even if nature remains beautiful and attractive." (51)
      One of the artist's strangest motifs is the unmade bed, which appears repeatedly in the most unusual of contexts - in the midsts of ruins (le construit et le défait 1981), sliding into a pond (le lit defait 1980),



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

SLEEP - Roland Cat

underwater (le sommeil 1980 - above) and in a grotto of stallectites and stallagmites (le refuge 1981). The bed evokes the Romance motif of 'the love grotto', where two lovers may find refuge from a world in confusion and decline.
      As Bernard Esambert suggests in his commentary on Cat's work:
      "At least one thing is certain: Roland Cat must be viewed with the eyes of a child who believes in the supernatural, however disquieting the images may seem. We are led into intimate spaces, into bed chambers which echo with the hope of our own survival. Though ambiguous and fantastic, these images and reflections may nourish, in each of us, a note of hope or dispair." (52)
       Finally, in Cat's work there is the recurring theme of a stream running through the ruinous landscape, suggesting that all is not lost, and that, in life, some sustenance and hope remains. This stream, as will be seen, becomes a leit-motif in the works of many Visionary Landscapists.

 
 
 


<--LAST PAGE

 


NEXT PAGE -->

 
 


HOME

 


EDITORIAL

 


KALMAKOFF:
THE FORGOTTEN
VISIONARY

 


VISIONARY
ART
IN FRANCE

 


ERNST FUCHS
SPEAKS

 
 


KALMAKOFF
GALLERY

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
GALLERY

 


MATI
KLARWEIN
REMEMBERED

 


KALMAKOFF
LINKS

 


FRENCH
VISIONARY ART
LINKS