Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Two directions for 2008

Another new year begins in the studio, and I seem to be working in two distinct directions.

The first direction is a continuation of the Web Series that I’ve been working on for about a year: gestural lines that mimic handwriting and tree-branches – in white, cream, brown, saffron yellow and yellow ochre – made by drawing with paint (fluid acrylic extruded from squeeze bottles) onto canvas, sheer cloth, and paper.

Here’s an example, made last weekend. It’s brown fluid acrylic on white paper collaged on stretched canvas, 50” high by 30” wide.

The second direction is a continuation of the Mosaic Series that I’ve been working on since the end of last summer: brightly colored papers, torn into squares or rectangles and arranged into grids or rows. The sizes range from 10” square to 30” square.

Here’s an example, 20” square, completed a few days ago.

Can’t decide which direction I like better, so I’ll just keep going back and forth! Both give me satisfaction in different ways. The Web Series is simple and clean; it’s one of those artistic exercises in “see much you can take away and still say something.” It allows me to luxuriate in the purity and complexity of line.

The Mosaic Series is bright and fun, and permits me to feel like I’m messing around but ultimately producing something well-crafted. I also feel like I’m making order out of chaos, which is very satisfying for a Gemini who has Virgo rising. There’s the initial playing stage, when I make a bunch of bright marks on sheets of white paper, doing whatever and working however I feel like. Once the paint is dry and the dust has settled, I group the papers by color, tear them into fairly uniform shapes, and collage them onto the surface. The initial marks play off of one another, as do the colors -- a lot of movement and visual bouncing around.

I’m having fun and learning a lot from both of these diverse directions.


Anonymous said...

Both directions look elegant and strong. What type of glue do you use to assemble your collages? Is the same material used to adhere the collage to the canvas? It's great to read about your exploratory approach to studio work.

Catherine Carter said...

Thank you, Laraine -- I use Utrecht acrylic matte medium to adhere the torn pieces of paper to the canvas or board. I apply the medium to the surface, press on the paper, then brush over with more medium. I've also had luck with yes paste, but prefer the medium because it also works with cloth.