Born in Rouen in 1965, Catherine Maddens has lived and worked in Paris for 30 years. She pursued a career in graphic design for 28 years, 14 of which were freelance, after earning a degree in Clinical Psychology. For the past decade, she has passionately devoted herself to abstract painting. She has taken multiple art courses at the Ateliers Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris and in private workshops for several years. Today, she channels all this wealth of experience into her art, with abstract painting at the core of her life.How did you get into art?
From my earliest memories, art has always been present within me.
In elementary school, I transformed the boredom of the classroom into an invisible canvas, drawing on my skin with colored markers, hidden behind the screen of my desk. During my teenage years, I nourished myself with the works of masters like Van Gogh, Pissarro, and Monet, immersing myself in their paintings for inspiration.
My father, a multi-talented amateur artist, was the true bridge to the art world for me. Being his "illegitimate" daughter, art became our common language, our unbreakable bond of love. He planted the seeds of this passion that has never stopped growing.
In middle school, I was fortunate to have an art teacher who recognized and nurtured my potential talents. He encouraged me to pursue studies in fine arts.
However, family circumstances led me down a more "conventional" path. Despite this, I continued to educate myself artistically, attending various courses and workshops.
How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?
My painting style is a journey between two worlds: the tangible and the subtle. I am fully engaged in each piece, body and soul. Often, my canvas lies on the floor, allowing me to dance around it, immersing myself in the creative process with complete freedom of movement.
Color is my primary language, the prelude to each piece. It is animated by the rhythm of gestures, like a visual melody that comes to life on the surface. After this initial burst of creativity, I step back and capture the essence to balance the composition.
It's a moment of reflection where I erase, overlay, and transgress, seeking harmony and unity in the painting. I also explore the boundaries of the visible and the invisible. Techniques like ink diffusion or aerosol spraying allow me to evoke more subtle elements, broader spaces like the cosmos or consciousness. My art is an invitation to see beyond the visible, to feel the energy and vibration of colors.How do you go about developing your work?
I am an explorer at heart. My small workshop is a laboratory of experimentation where I play with a variety of tools and materials, ranging from acrylics and oil sticks to aerosols and everyday objects repurposed for artistic use, like a broom or a lice comb. I prefer to work on free canvas, without the constraints of a frame. Each painting is the theater of a unique, jubilant, and cathartic physical experience.
Before starting, I often set an intention or theme, then enter into meditation to let all thoughts flow and become transparent to the creative flux. My process is organic and collaborative: I dialogue with my painting, and we are partners in a creative and inventive dance.
Observation breaks are important moments for artistic reflection to harmonize, find pictorial balance, and guide the continuation of my work. I navigate between colors and their movements, in an abstract thought process that seeks to stabilize visual sensations in a space. Everything is in motion, everything is questioned until I find the right vibration, the one that will resonate with the viewer. My ultimate goal is to create a visual experience that invites kindness, freedom, exploration, and travel.Who or what influences you?
I am deeply influenced by a range of contemporary artists such as Katharina Grosse, Fabienne Verdier, Megan Rooney, and Raúl Illarramendi, to name just a few. Masters from the past like Joan Mitchell, Per Kirkeby, Cy Twombly, Olivier Debré, and Gérard Richter have also left an indelible imprint on my artistic choices.
Parisian art galleries are my resource places. I go there regularly to immerse myself in contemporary abstract art and satisfy my curiosity. My inspiration is not limited to the walls of galleries. Nature and its majestic trees are a sanctuary, a haven of peace and rejuvenation. I capture the poetry of moments, the movements of light in matter, graphic signs, and transpose them into my paintings, free from any literal fidelity.
Human relationships and sometimes complex feelings also find their way onto the canvas. The pitfalls of this chaotic world as well, even though I do not feel of this world. I am attuned to the subtle energies that surround us. My work is an exploration beyond ordinary reality, an invitation to feel the vibrations of visible and invisible worlds.Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?
I have just completed a series of small formats, an unusual approach as I generally work on large canvases. These colorful small formats were created for an application to a Christmas 2023 exhibition in a lovely associative gallery.
I am waiting to find out if I am selected. I will gradually unveil them on Instagram. I am also eagerly awaiting the response to several other applications for exhibitions in 2024.
I am preparing a larger creative aid dossier to advance in my artistic quest. This opportunity would allow me to fully dedicate myself to an artistic project close to my heart.
My thirst for painting is unquenchable, and I am always in new pictorial experiments. I would like to spend less time managing my communication to dive even more into my artistic practice.
Ultimately, my dearest wish is to share my paintings with a broader audience and find collectors and art enthusiasts who will be touched by my work. Each sale not only allows me to continue creating but also strengthens my bonds with those who thus encourage me in what I create.Learn more about the artist: