14 May – 11 June 2022
Opening night: Friday 13 May, 5pm
Catherine has produced a lovely newspaper with her work and information about her practice – read it below!
FRAGILE ISLAND is an on-going body of drawings and paintings by West Cork based artist Catherine Weld. It explores the experience of being in the complex and beautiful but fragile and vulnerable natural world as it comes under increasing threat from changes in climate and the ravages inflicted on it by man. The finished work may be seen primarily as paintings, but this exhibition at Working Artist Studios also includes many mixed media pieces, ranging in scale from 15cm to 150cm square, that are the result of the artist’s wider process; they come from walking, collaging, reading, scribbling, doodling, talking, sitting, thinking, trying not to think …
Catherine’s response to the effects of climate change includes an increased appreciation of and connection to the environment, heightened through intense observation of both its beauty and its degradation; she constantly walks the land whilst making drawings of the things encountered. Anything that sparks interest can become a subject, from the most delicate flower to extraordinary formations of rock, to the painful stumps of felled trees. Inspiration comes also from sounds, touch and the sensations of weather, light and atmosphere – all are recorded using pencils, charcoal and even lumps of earth and the sap of plants.
The drawings, both observational and abstract, that are made in the landscape are later used in the studio to extend a personal language of marks that conveys the qualities of specific experiences. Catherine is currently investigating ideas about what defines ‘drawing’ and ‘painting’, and developing new ways to work within a continuum without a hierarchy of marks or materials. Applying this through the use of oil and acrylic paint, ink, pastels, charcoal and pencil enables her to organically and intuitively use colour, line, tone, layering and texture to create paintings that, whilst mostly tending towards the abstract are nevertheless imbued with atmosphere and sense of place.
Catherine Weld’s creative career began with 10 years as a photographer, shooting mainly landscape, portrait and social documentary in black and white, and hand-printing in the darkroom. This was followed by 7 years as a facilitator of hospice-based, patient-led projects in Dorset, England and Inverness, Scotland, and then a degree in Graphic Design. Finding commercial work restrictive, she finally committed to life as an artist, which offers the solitude and sense of risk and freedom to which she is temperamentally best suited.
Having said that, she often enjoys teaching, and has also been involved in various community projects: for example, she was co-curator at Blue House Gallery Schull in 2017 and 2018, ran the gallery at Organico, Bantry for several years, and was very involved in three art-based fundraising events in support of the campaign to prevent the mechanical harvest of the native kelp forest of Bantry Bay, during which the amazing arts community of West Cork contributed well over €20,000 to the fund.
She has exhibited widely, including at the RA Summer Show in London, the RUA in Belfast, and the Vue Art Fair at the RHA in Dublin. Paintings are in the OPW and Cork County Council art collections as well as in private homes in Germany, Switzerland, the U.S.A., the U.K. and Ireland.
Catherine Weld Fragile Island_ Newspaper