Cathie Joy Young & Kim Murton, Reed Clarke

MAIN GALLERY (May 28-June 23)

“Months before this pandemic started I was thinking about making totems and remembered this carved medieval pillar that I used to visit in the Met. In my memory the piece is made of wood and depicts a seated figure with a wide open mouth, possibly a tongue sticking out, shouting or screaming and overall showing a great deal of emotion considering how crudely it is carved.This was the seed for this current body of work. I looked at Pacific Northwest totems. I also stumbled on an inspiring set in Hawaii but I still have this figure from the Middle/ Ages stuck in my head. Then came the virus and the stay at home orders and thoughts of the bubonic plague and voila 20 plus pieces that in my mind represent the current times.”

“All the pieces are coil built and painted with colored slip, then fired and fired again with a clear glaze for the final finish. I start with a basic shape then add to that, sometimes based on a drawing , sometimes not. Pattern and design always override any narrative so the pieces are less about story and more about shapes, but the fact that a story still emerges makes me glad.”

“This body of work is called “Notre-Dame is Burning”. Throughout all the disasters which have taken place in the last four years, the destruction of Notre-Dame stands out for me symbolically. I was fortunate to see it standing in person just three weeks before it burned, and I watched it burn in realtime online from my home in Vancouver, WA. All that history and art, sacred space to millions, built by human hands, standing witness for 857 years, consumed by flames. I could not stop thinking about the statue of Joan of Arc inside. 

The paintings in this body of work were especially time consuming to complete, highly detailed and more intimate spatially than my prior work, inch by inch created with tiny marks, tiny figures and shapes, interconnecting and crowding out negative space. Painting allows me to detach and experience pure focus, enabling the problem solving part of my mind to take the lead, while compacting and organizing fear, confusion, grief, and anger, inspired by this distressing time in history.”

FEATURE AREA (May 28-June 21)

“I am both a painter and printmaker who seeks to create a flow of figurative images with both subtle and overt narratives. On the one hand, my compositions portray people in order to show their unique presence, but also to somehow allude to the underlying mystery of what it means to be human. Faces and figures inhabit all my paintings and when I try to stray from this subject something I can’t resist calls me back. I feel a tension when I paint between the desire to capture the subject’s humanness and at the same time wrestle with the painting process itself, for it seems to me a good painting is much more than a literal representation of its subject. Once a painting is begun I’m soon lost in the actual process of discovering the interplay of color, line, volume, value and other visual challenges that must be dealt with before the painting begins to move towards a resolution. I am interested in the abstract elements of a painting that so to speak may be hidden in plain sight. In the end, I’m striving for a balance between a composition that includes a human subject that is compelling and a paint surface that engages the viewer.”