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Solo exhibition: Satellite

For the past year, my art-thoughts and art-activities have revolved around the circle as a form and as a concept. This investigation will culminate in my solo show, Satellite, which opens on Friday, October 6, from 4-7 PM at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN.

Elephant In the Forest

This body of work depicts circular forms in a variety of configurations. My painting process is determined by the urge to cut things into small pieces and the need to rearrange and move the pieces around. When working on canvas, I first paint onto raw canvas, cut circles out from what I’ve painted, and sew those painted circles onto a larger sheet of canvas. I bring chance into my work through my painting techniques: I water down the paint, I let colors bleed together and move around before being absorbed by the canvas, I spray more water onto the wet paint to see what will happen. The results are often surprising, and lead me to new ideas within my work.

The methodical and deliberate process of hand-sewing the painted circles onto larger sheets of canvas contrasts with the more spontaneous and free process of painting. This juxtaposition keeps my paintings balanced and allows me to move between different ways of working, which holds my interest in the work. The sewing process is slow and meticulous, while the painting process is loose and energetic.

I’m inspired by circular and cyclical ideas of all kinds, from the micro (cells, seeds, grains of sand) to the macro (planets, stars, galaxies) to the intangible (the circle of life, the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of a beating heart). Circles represent many things in nature and in human society, and are universal symbols of unity, inclusiveness, movement, time, and potential. It all speaks to the concept of interconnection between all things, and to the idea that a circle can be one individual object and a whole universe containing everything that exists, both at the same time.

To see all 29 paintings from this body of work, click here.

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Solo exhibition: Orbital Resonance

How To Be Human

Come see my recent work in my solo exhibition “Orbital Resonance” at The Art Institutes International Minnesota’s main gallery.

If you’re in the area, join me for the opening reception on Thursday, May 18 from 6:00 – 7:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public. Snacks and beverages will be provided.

The exhibition will run from May 13 through June 8.

RSVP on the Facebook event page, and invite your friends!

AIM Gallery – Art Institutes International Minnesota
15 S 9th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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Gel pen drawings

Gel pen drawings by Cathy Durso

I was a little bit too excited recently when I received a set of 100(!) gel pens as a gift. These pens brought me right back to my childhood impulses of first: making a small mark with every single pen to see the colors, second: arranging the pens in their holder into rainbow color order, and third: making instinctual, scribbly drawings with them. I was thrilled when I realized that about 1/3 of them had shimmery ink and another 1/3 of them had sparkly ink! After a lot of playing around I made a series of drawings, with the goal of using as many different colors as possible while still making beautiful, cohesive drawings. These drawings are currently available in my shop.

Foreign Land 16

Foreign Land 10 (detail)

Foreign Land 3

Foreign Land 6

Foreign Land 4 (detail)

Click here to see all of the drawings!

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Commission for a Florida Condo

Florida
Florida
acrylic and thread on canvas
each panel 30 x 30 in
2017

I just finished up a commission to be displayed on the wall of a Florida condo. The finished work is a diptych, two canvases each measuring 30×30 inches. The stipulations for this work were that it use tropical, Florida-inspired colors, as well as that it take inspiration from the colors of a recently upholstered couch in the condo.

Florida (left-hand panel) by Cathy Durso

I wanted to use the colors in a way that gave the work a sense of narrative. The fact that it’s a diptych already makes the eye move in a narrative way, from one canvas to the next. I wanted to give a sense of time shifting from day to night. In the left-hand panel are daytime colors, which are interspersed with evening colors toward the bottom right-hand corner. There are some dark blue-greens in there as well, that might evoke a passing rain shower. Then, the right-hand panel has evening colors that change from the bright reds and oranges of a sunset to dark, dusky purple on the far right-hand side.

Florida (right-hand panel) by Cathy Durso

The circles are acrylic on canvas. They are sewn with thread onto the background canvas. They move across the canvases in a way that evokes the movement of the ocean, as if a wave is moving across the two canvases.

Florida (detail) by Cathy Durso

I like to use circle shapes as a way to focus the viewer’s attention. There is something about a circle that frames things in a way that can be very pleasing to the eye – I’ve always found circular windows on houses to be particularly beautiful. I found that the circles in this work evoked a sense of focusing on one aspect of a landscape at a time. The circles move across the canvas in a way that mimics the way our eyes work, in that they don’t travel smoothly as we look around, but rather, they hop from one point of focus to the next. The circles are also reminiscent of the way our eyes can be focused on one thing, and then when we shift our focus to another thing, everything around us has changed. This can happen when we ourselves our moving (walking, driving) or when the landscape itself is changing (the sun is setting, or clouds are rolling in). Our vision hops around to different parts of the landscape, and we take all these points of focus in to create our own sense of the experience.

Florida (detail) by Cathy Durso

I really enjoy the challenge of creating a piece of artwork for a specific space. If you are interested in commissioning a painting from me, there is more information about the process on my commissions page.

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Freedom

"Blue/Orange Eclipse" by Cathy Durso

“[…] freedom – a state of being in which man’s relatedness to life is unobstructed […] Man has many hungers. But they all seem to me to be versions of a twofold one: hunger for freedom, and hunger for union, a dance of each individuality with the world.” -Mary Caroline Richards, Centering