Friday, January 20, 2012

OUT OF LINE: THE WORK OF CANADIAN PAINTER CATHERINE Y. BATES

STILL LIFE WITH KUBA CLOTH
24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2008
"AIMING FOR BEAUTY IS A SURVIVAL BELIEF"....
FROM THE HOMEPAGE OF THE CATHERINE Y. BATES WEBSITE


I met painter Catherine Y. Bates several years ago at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM, where we were both doing a three-month residency.

I urge you to check out her work. Here's a link to her Hors Limites/Out of Line ("expressionistic renderings of iconic geographical locations"spanning a forty-year career). 




Catherine also  sends out an annual year-end letter. She's given me permission to share this one.

Dear Friends, December 2011

This ninth end-of-year letter comes late, after a wonderful holiday trip to Pittsburgh, to visit daughter Jenny Bates, her husband Jay Lampert, and talented seven-year-old Hector. Their academic and artistic household brims with stimulating discussions and activities. It was a special joy for me to be there. I will visit son Greg and Flic and the family in Maine in the early spring. Their daughter Hila has returned from her semester in Ecuador and is now an intern with sled dog trips and other nature adventures, while Cori continues her home schooling at a terrific pace, writes so well, and is fast becoming a computer expert!

The past year had many trips between Georgeville and Montreal for rehab after the very successful cochlear implant. I am now much more actively involved with friends and Montreal cultural activities. From my Feb. 19 journal entry: “I believe that beauty has an unexplainable power: to overcome baseness, to connect to people positively, to make life worth living. It requires health, steadfastness, silence, community.” I have changed my major painting studio back to Montreal, reserving a room in my Georgeville home for works on paper; the home also will be a base for any “en plein air” work I might do. I have the best of both worlds.

I updated my website with Mac Store lessons, including older work as well as new paintings. In 2012 there are two exhibits planned and a third in the offing. A graduate student from Laval visited to document paintings I had done before the operation, and will come again to document another twenty post-op paintings, to see about any change in my use of colour, a research into sight and hearing (synethesia).

CATHERINE Y. BATES
SOARING I
 40" x 48", oil on linen, 2003
In the summer I swam and began longer walks, and my enthusiasm for painting grew stronger. I have begun with still life works combining the Kuba cloth I bought a few years ago with other increasingly larger abstracted areas of sky and water. I love the large Kuba cloth from Zambia and its seemingly random abstract patterns, which, on closer viewing, are extremely well organized. It is this combination of the abstract and the representational that has dogged me for years, dating back to my early quilt paintings, painted so realistically but made up of abstract sections. Later I used actual physical sections, starting in 1991, but will leave big ones for David Hockney! Martin Gayford’s A Bigger Message, interviews with Hockney, provided enjoyable reading. I also did research into the patterns of African Bwa masks and appliquéd Kuba cloths. Other books I enjoyed – Color Into Light, about Hans Hofmann’s teaching practices, and Philip Guston, collected writings.

I have hopes that the increasing individual actions of people in all walks of life who make positive creative artistic endeavours will contribute some strong antidotes to the negatives of war, environmental destruction, over-population, and other follies. Art is a survival challenge! Best wishes for 2012. Peace for the world.

Catherine
Catherine Y. Bates
email: cybates@aei.ca
www.cybates.com


CATHERINE Y. BATES
WITNESS, LANDSCAPE EVENT, 
30" x 40", oil on canvas, 2008

5 comments:

  1. I do love these paintings, and I really love the very true words about beauty from the painter's Feb. 19th journal entry.

    Perhaps related, perhaps not, I found myself walking yesterday in something of a hurry to get to someplace, when a small silent voice said something like, "Slow down. Listen to your world."

    It would seem that Catherine Bates is very adept at listening to her world, at receiving what the world has to give! And yes, to overcome baseness, and to make life worth living: are there any more noble aims?

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  2. Beautiful work by a fellow Canadian. Thanks for sharing.

    Man, I need to slow down and get busy at my easle and in my sketchbooks.

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  3. It'd be neat to see Soaring I in real life. Gorgeous colors!
    -Mike Demers

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