Sunday Sculpture – Cathy Rose: she’s an artist

I haven’t been this excited about stumbling across a new (to me) artist in ages. And by ages, I mean ages.

New Orleans sculptor Cathy Rose explores ideas of renewal and transformation, setting her delicate porcelain figures within landscapes of found objects and recycled timber. Long, floating limbs; stark imagery; a natural colour palette…en masse they are a family of enchanting, fragile and occasionally confronting characters. If I were a more romantic thinker than I am, I would say I find their simplicity almost heartbreakingly beautiful. Instead, I’ll let the artist herself do the talking:

“I’m an artist. I’ve been saying this since I was nine and now I’m 60 and I think I’m starting to believe it.

It’s been eighteen years since I left teaching to pursue my work full time. Eighteen years of sitting quietly each morning in my studio, molding literally thousands of small faces and figures out of porcelain, smoothing each crease and mark with the same clay tool in my hand I’ve used for all of those years. It’s a soothing and meditative process to feel the clay move, taking shape, slowly emerging from something so simple as a ball of powdered sand and water. Porcelain is the finest of clays, pure, smooth and white, you can stretch it as thin as paper or mold it into the most minute of shapes. Its fragile beauty belies its strength. Its temperamental character challenges me, torments, confounds and fascinates me. It’s an old friend which comforts me in difficult times, the familiarity of the routine, of hands working in simple repetitive gestures they’ve known for so long, my mind and breathing focused only on coaxing life from it. It’s magic, really, to change something primitive and simple into permanence.

Eighteen years of being taught by the same teacher and still more to learn. Every morning, the same lesson, every morning a new lesson.

I’m an artist. I think I’m starting to believe it.”

See more here: Cathy Rose

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