Interview with Routes 28, Colas Foundation

"Machines ask themselves the same questions as us."

Also available in French / disponible en français.

Carrefour . Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.

Carrefour. Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.

You opted to depict excavators and other site machines in your compositions. Where did you get the idea for your theme?

Odile Ferron-Verron: A chance encounter! I had been long since been interested in wastelands, abandoned industrial sites, areas where nature has regained the upper hand over a civilization that is gradually being eroded. And one day, on a detour around a building site, I realized that the machines, these pensive shells, had something to tell us about themselves!

What is the relationship between the machines and us?

O. F.-V.: The machines seem to be asking questions. To a certain extent, they are a metaphor of man. I often depict them beneath a sky of relentless blue, indifferent and on neutral, desolate ground: the setting reflects their vulnerability and their questioning of existence. The bucket I’ve painted for the Colas Foundation is wondering which path it is going to take within the endless landscape surrounding it. The possibilities are endless.

Familiar as you are with job sites, how o you view the public works sector?

O. F.-V.: I love going out to sites because I couldn’t conceive of painting without observing “my” machines. I want to depict them as accurately as possible: hey have to be fit for purpose but, of course, there is still room for a degree of creativity. For me, a job site represents a gathering of momentum, a meeting. You get caught up in it! Although initially intrigued, the people that work on these sites are soon proud of the benevolent and respectful depiction I offer of their universe...