After featuring Catherine’s degree show work earlier this year we wanted to find out more about her influences, practices and early childhood memories of living in Yellowknife, Northern Canada…
It did come as a surprise to me, and my tutors, when I read the news of being shortlisted in such a wide-spread competition.
It was a new experience for me to be part of an exhibition installation with artists who had such different approaches to their practice. The entire experience was not just rewarding but valuable as a learning experience to me as a new graduate.
Early in my third year, I had just finished making two paintings of fire. I had used footage and photographs of a burning box model to produce them. It was after this use of an experience and photographs, when I begun to make models from my childhood photographs of the coloured ice-blocks. I think I was using models, in both cases, to produce something which was tangible. I could then hold an experience of it to revisit for painting.
I have always built small models as an aid to my painting process. I find the toy-like quality of the models, and the scale of them, to be somehow quite significant. I view any make-shift human constructions that exist within extreme landscapes to have a slightly infantile quality, dwarfed as they are, in comparison to their immense locations. I therefore use the subject of ‘toys’, as a visual resource for the objects that appear within the paintings. I suppose on one level what I’m doing is likening the process by which mankind’s constructions are installed within extreme landscapes, to playing with toys.
I feel rooted to Canada in some way, and it this thought is which has driven my work. It only feels right to go back, and grant myself this wish.
I am caught by the idea of wanting to venture in to ‘the unknown’, and by the fact that many people might experience this feeling. I maybe am attempting to paint what that ‘unknown’ place could look like to me, currently.
In Orkney I could experience another type of northern wilderness. I wanted to see how this might change affect my work and studio practice. Any very cold places are all on my list.
I have my own studio at home, and I have a few ideas for possible residencies too.
Some from VAU are from the class of 2013, who were above my year at Gray’s. Our studios were always close to theirs, and I always admired many of those students’ good work.
The graduates have worked hard to form an artists’ collective, which will allow them to put together shows, workshops and talks. They also aim to raise funds to help develop and grow the project through a campaign on IndieGogo.
I appreciate the paintings and drawings by Sylvia Wishart. I remember in my second year when the collection of her paintings held by Gray’s was put on show. I was very taken by them.
To see more of Catherine’s paintings and sculptures see our Artist to Watch feature.