This solo exhibition, entitled ‘Colourfields of Memories’ was opened by Dr Jan Hogan at the Top Gallery, Salamanca.

‘Colourfields of Memories’ Opening Speech
by Dr Jan Hogan

“Catherine’s practice is driven by process. What do we mean by that? How do we arrive at meaning through process? It is an entering into a dialogue. Trained and refining a practice within set parameters. Starting intuitively but with experience, reflection, and research; Catherine is deepening her practice.

As we contemplate these works we feel that they are something we know, they are something we have seen before, glimpsed in the environment, perhaps dreamed of, or felt emotionally but cannot name with the rational brain.

Colour field works is a naming of a type of non-objective art practice and yet each practice is so different, so elusive as each individual brings their own concentrated practice to the work.

Catherine and I have spent a long time trying to find the language to articulate this practice, to give it a voice. And I think what we have learned and what she shares with you in this exhibition is that the work has its own voice; you have to trust in it and in your own response to the work as Catherine has learned to do.

I stand here in front of this work [Floating Reflections I] that I think of as a call and response. A colour is laid down, the ground is masked off, repressed if you like, in order to contain the pigments, which are washed back and forth until they begin to sing. The process is water based, the pigments float suspended, gradually seeping into the paper as the water evaporates.

In “Water and Dreams,” Gaston Bachelard talks about water as reverie, water as a place where memories are stored. It is the basic element of life that we are constantly drawn to, that we know contains meaning. Catherine engages with this medium, filling it with her insights, her glimpses of other worlds, a sophisticated understanding of colour mixing and mirroring. This is the skill that comes, as we have heard, with the 10,000 hrs to become a mistress of your craft.

Another colour is laid down in response, they begin to reverberate and bravely Catherine replies again. As artist and pigment becomes exhausted, part of the process is completed. But as the tape is removed the white paper releases the song, allowing it to breathe, and to shift and move calling to new viewers, to ignite emotions and memories.

Art has this language that we in this rational, precise, scientific age find difficult to celebrate in what we cannot name or hold down to one meaning. These works will shift and change during the day and during your life as joys and tragedies, new sights and sensations become memories and the deeper hues vibrate through. Already I can see new patterns emerging in Catherine’s language.

What started on the page, contained in borders as Catherine’s organising demons fought with her instinctual and emotional outpourings have seeped out into their own forms. They have demanded that their presence in the world is acknowledged. They now have their own shadows as they float within the frames. Until, in the largest work [Soul/Soul-less], they have consumed the paper casting off their 2-dimensionaliy, insisting on their objectness.

And as I stand in this room I can see the works singing to each other, one shines out, capturing my attention like a blue-plumed bird in the dusty greys of the Australian bush. Until the warmth of the earth tones seduces me to a more sombre or calming reflection.

I would love to have that wall of works to contemplate over the years as each work pulls on memories, on my umbilical cord back to my dreams. From what started in small grids on a page, Catherine has managed to expand and arrange the works until there is a call and reply across the gallery, between works, and I hope with your selves as viewers.

Trust your instincts, allow these gems to pull at your heart, they will reward your contemplation over the years. Growing in depth as you do. I congratulate Catherine on this exquisite body of works and I look forward to many more years of revelations from these swimming fields of colour.”

The catalogue of work can be found at Gallery by Joshua