S: The Inner Poetics of Landscape * Catherine Nash: Recent Artwork
FC: The Inner Poetics of Landscape | Catherine Nash: Recent Artwork
1: For Robert with love and gratitude
2: photo by Robert Renfrow
3: About the Artist A long time resident of Tucson, Arizona, Catherine Nash is an artist who freely mixes media in her work to express her ideas. Specializing in Japanese and Western hand papermaking, encaustic painting and mixed media drawing, Nash is a teaching artist who balances her studio work with artist-in-resident teaching, lectures and workshops across the United States, as well as in professional studios and universities in eight European countries, Australia and Japan. She is publishing a book that surveys international artists entitled "Authentic Visual Voices: Contemporary Paper and Encaustic". Her work has been included by invitation into numerous national and international exhibitions, most recently in Japan, Bulgaria, Poland and Australia. Her love of travel and different cultures has inspired her to live, exhibit, research and teach on four continents. After receiving a B.F.A. in Printmaking and Drawing from the University of New Hampshire in 1980, Nash spent a year and a half creating prints and drawings in Paris. In 1987, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Masters of Fine Arts in Mixed Media. Two independently designed research trips to Japan enabled Nash to study the techniques of Japanese woodblock printing and papermaking in depth. From 1996-2002, her extensive research in Italy and Scandinavia increased her knowledge of historical and contemporary Western papermaking and paper arts. Nash has combined encaustic waxes and filtered earth pigments with her handmade paper works since 1994. The landscape, aesthetics and cultures of Japan, the rich gradations and spaciousness of Scandinavian summer night skies, experiences with Native American friends and her explorations into the wilderness of the southwestern deserts have deeply influenced and informed her work.
4: I slump down into the thick foliage. ...In the forest, I am my entire self. Everything is possible in my heart just as it is in the hiding places in ravines. -Rene Menard, Le Livre des Arbres In my artwork, a personal language of symbols distilled from years of sketchbooks: shelters, nests, boats and bowls; light, water, earth and sky; seeds, branches, roots and new growth, eyes and hands become timeless images that can be “read” allegorically in many ways. I use these symbols to evoke emotive ideas without the need for the written or spoken word. I strive to interpret my deepest thoughts, dreamings and concerns. | Artist Statement
5: Movement of time and space Expansiveness of sky Mysteries of the night Hope in tiny green leaves Quietude of shelter Intuitive sense of hiding Solitude Reverence Silence | ...a monk should live in a world where there is neither passage of time nor length of time. He should live a life that is not measured by the calendar. A sense of beauty, similarly, is timeless: it may be said to exist at this very instant, unbounded by past or future, and a beautiful object may be said to exist on this very spot, unbounded by right or left. - Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman | Creating images and objects of beauty and visual poetry that express reverence offers me grounding. Enough time has passed by in my creative life to notice that I spiral through ideas and concerns. I discover tiny roots of an idea were hidden in previous works, but have emerged in a different way. Completely understanding a narrative while creating is not important. I’ve learned to not question the internal juxtaposition of imagery, to listen and let the work lead me. A conversation with paper, wax, branches, brush, pen, saw and twine.
6: Vessels and Growth I used to say that I was an ocean person, having grown up near the water’s edge, practically raised on a sailboat by my sea-loving father. I learned to play with the wind in sails, reading the path of approaching gusts across the water. For almost thirty years now, I’ve lived in an arid desert land where the beds of rivers and streams are almost always dry sand, drawn to the expansive, silent space. There is something intriguing about dreaming of boats in the desert. They take on mythical proportions and connotations. Boats are immersed in my childhood memories of no-time; they remain deep in my inner life. A boat can symbolize the ephemeral “skin” conjuring up the boundary of our being and journeying through time and space. There was a specific moment when my art started "sprouting", when my sculptures "grew" foliage. As a child, I fell deeply in love with plants. As an adult, I experience incredible wonder at the sheer bravado of a tendril of green, of new growth from the desert floor. Hope exists in tiny green leaves. | New Growth Encaustic, cast gampi, kozo and piña HMPapers, dead tree with root ball, dried mud and sand, mixed media. 80 X 33 in. dia.
8: Spirit Boat Cast handmade kozo paper into willow branch armature and encased in encaustic. Lashed creosote branches with pigmented encaustic. Broken wooden bowl as base. 23"h X 42"w X 10"d
10: Night Boat Encaustic, cast kozo HMPaper 150+ yr old kozo paper bought in a Kyoto flea market. Poem by Rumi. 18 X 34 X 6 in.
11: Sprouting Boat Cast kozo paper, lashed branches and roots, gampi paper leaves. 15.5 X 11 X 5 in. | Thorny Sea Encaustic, cast mulberry bark paper sculpture, branches, driftwood with rusty nails, thorns. 7.5 X 17 X 5 in.
12: The Sky | I am inspired by things that make me wonder, spending hours staring into the sky, mesmerized by the expansiveness of space...pondering on our place in the universe.The turning of day to night is a display of vast beauty, subtle color shifting as the earth moves. Many are afraid of the night, the dark, the inability to see. But our eyes will adjust and shapes can be discerned. There is a gradation to the night sky, to the depth of space. The sky holds the ultimate touchstone for me, representing the infinite, a spaciousness, the big mystery. Looking out into space brings levity and perspective to my day....I need a reminder that we are tiny beings on a continent, on a spinning planet, in a solar system, within one galaxy among multitudinous galaxies. Levity. May I carry that around with me, please? Secret Skies are a recent series of artist books: paintings of the sky are created within a closable wooden box, game board or the like. I am playing with a physical way of bottling up, translating, of trying to comprehend the unfathomable with a bit of humor. Have portable sky, will travel~ | Reflected Constellation Encaustic, oil stick on wood 20 X 10.25 in.
13: From the Outside In Encaustic painting in found weathered wood worked board with patinaed redwood shingles. 16”h x 13”w
14: Secret Sky encaustic painting in a vintage wooden game board 5.5 x 9 x 1.5 in. closed 5.5 X 18 X .75 in. open
15: Sky Within (No. 70) Open - encaustic painting in a vintage mechanics machine parts box 9 X 11.5 X 1 open
16: Reading the Night Encaustic painting in a wooden game board Open - 5.5 X 18 X .75 in.
17: Before Dawn Encaustic on wood. 16.5 X 24 in.
19: Sky Trap found woodworked pine and walnut wood, encaustic, oil stick, lashed willow branches 7”h X 13”w X 13”d
20: Eclipsis Lunar Mixed media assemblage, encaustic painting in an antique box, wax pencil and chalk drawing of a ca. 1552 lunar eclipse diagram on an old school slate; antique copper compact, mica, branch es, handmade paper with walnut ink and encaustic. 17.5”h X 25”w (open) X 10”d
22: Reliquary for the Dawn Mixed media assemblage with vintage drawer, encaustic, nautilus shell, antique market finds, raku fired ceramics, lashed pine needles from the Gila Wilderness, NM gathered at dawn. 14”h X 13”w X 5”d
23: From the top left clockwise: Bend Encaustic painting on wood 21 1/2” X 29” End of a Day Encaustic on wood. 18 X 29 in. Two Trees Encaustic painting on wood. 6”X 6” Through Trees Encaustic painting on wood. 18” X 29”
24: Sacred Geometry and the Earth In my recent encaustic artworks, images of skies are seen juxtaposed with geometrical diagrams or sacred geometry used to design the floor plans of ancient temples. How varied cultures through history have striven to explain this mystery through mathematics and the sciences I find fascinating. The ancients observed the spiral unfolding of nature within the sprouting of a seed, a radiating flower center, the proportions of the human form, the relationship of the Earth to the solar system, the turn of a galaxy. The spiral is a profound image of the movement of time and space. Miranda Lundy writes, "Sacred geometry charts the unfolding of number in space."
25: Geometry Lesson (above) Encaustic painting in an antique drawer;wax pencil and chalk on old school slate; page from a vintage Japanese math book; cross-section of a nautilus shell; antique calipers; photo of Galaxy 51, oil stick. 17.5”h X 32”w Osirion (left) Encaustic painting on wood, gossamer thin Japanese kozo paper monoprinted with cerulean blue encaustic, oil stick filled sgraffito marks. 15”h X 30”w
26: Phases Mixed media assemblage in an antique sewing machine drawer, wood carving, encaustic branch, roots, paper “leaves”, seeds, mirror, nautilus shell. 31”h X 9”w X 6”d
29: The Circle Cannot Be Squared assemblage with vintage drawer, antique market finds, encaustic, raku fired ceramics, log, circle rock found in the Four Corners area of northern Arizona. 15”h X 17”w X 9”d
31: Sky Nest Cast gampi and abaca paper fibers into a lashed armature of creosote branches, encased in encaustic, oil stick, white line transfer. 26”h X 40”w X 10”d
32: Vesica Encaustic, oil stick on wood & paper. 24 X 36 in.
33: Spiral encaustic, oil stick on wood 21 x 34 in.
34: Navigation at Night: Ode to M.G. Encaustic & oil, mixed media, glass, metal leafing. 36.5 X 36.75 in.
36: Poetic Juxtaposition I resonate with the Japanese aesthetics of wabi and sabi...the difficult to-put-in-words atmospheres created through the arts...concepts of solitude, simplicity, longing and the passage of time. Poetic assemblage [the act of juxtaposing antique, vintage and found-objects with color and drawing] offers me a very different window through which to explore deep experiences of nature and the metaphysics of place and memory. The vertical works on hand split redwood shingles were created during a 3 week residency in the studio of the late painter Morris Graves near Eureka, California. With permission of the M.G.'s Foundation, these beeswax collages incorporate found elements from Grave’s studio with my own handmade papers. The hand-split redwood shingles, pulled from the wood stove's tinder pile, came from his original house. Books are containers of ideas, of knowledge, of human imagination: in the hands of an artist, the book can explore an integrated connection between idea, structure, and visual movement. I regard my sculptural artist books to be intimate containers of an idea meant to be experienced in a progression of time. | Vine With Moon (right) handmade paper, mica, beeswax, mixed media on a 40 year old hand-split redwood shingle 6 1/4” X 23 1/2” Oak Leaf (far right with detail) handmade paper, pencil, gesso, mica, silver leaf, beeswax, mixed media on a 40 year old hand-split redwood shingle.
38: Fern (left) handmade paper, gesso, beeswax, lichen, mixed media, AZ earth pigment on a 40 year old hand-split redwood shingle 6 1/2” X 25” Gingko Leaf and Feather (right) handmade paper, pencil, gesso, mica, beeswax, mixed media on a 40 year old hand-split redwood shingle 6 1/2” X 22” As Above, So Below (far right) handmade paper, mixed media drawing, stones, mica, beeswax on a 40 year old hand-split redwood shingle 8” X 14”
40: This Too Shall Pass (above) Encaustic monotype with handwritten text on piña HMPaper, tornado splintered oak, waxed “leaves” of gampi HMPaper, twig and roots. Wooden box. Quote by Henry David Thoreau: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” 7h X 13w X 4d, opens to 18 inches.
41: Dark to Light (left) Coptic bound abaca, hemp, flax & black denim HMPapers, encaustic monotype, black stone, tornado splintered oak, marble, old knot found on the beach. 15.5 X 4.5 X 2 in.
42: Boat of Myself Mixed media encaustic painting, 150 year old Japanese paper bought in a Kyoto flea market. Poem by Jelaluddin Rumi. 12” X 15”
43: Deliberately encaustic and walnut ink on handmade paper with quote from Henry David Thoreau "to live deliberately" 11.5"X11"
44: Published by Catherine Nash, M.F.A. catherinenash.com firstname.lastname@example.org 2012