In Catherine Canac-Marquis’ photographic series, the artist reveals the uncanny and intimate spaces of "The Keepers", guardians of Île au Ruau, a private island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, 40 kilometres downstream from Quebec City. The photographs offer glimpses of the insular lives of Gisèle Roy and Hervé Vézina, who called Île au Ruau home for 38 years, acting as caretakers for the privately-owned hunting grounds that stretch across the island. Through the visual language of documentary photography, the images offer traces of the day-to-day lives of the island’s keepers: sites, sounds, and semblances that hint at the psychological and physiological nature of living in near isolation. These are facets of reality that are neither visible nor accessible to most. Revealed piece by piece, the images wax and wane between geographical and intimate, exterior and interior; paralleling the metaphorical and paradoxical nature of islands, which serve as sites of mediation and difference, between real and imaginary, utopia and dystopia, centre and periphery. Alongside the images are excerpts from the artist’s first interview with Gisèle and Hervé. Referencing the keepers’ simultaneous intention to leave the island in November 2015 and reservations about leaving a place to which they feel a deep sense of belonging, the text performs linguistically the barriers implicit in the photographs, isolating the reader through translation, indecision, and discordant phrase.
Gallery 44 - Center for Contemporary Photography, Toronto (Canada), June 2017
Atelier B, Montreal (Canada), October 2016