May 2016: Cathi Newlin & Christopher St. John
Cathi Newlin creates ceramic animal inspired sculptures. “My art seems to be an infinite journey. When I stop and look at the road I’ve traveled so far, I can see that each of my works is just a bread crumb I’ve left behind - not so much so I can find my way back, as to show where I’ve been.” And one of the foremost clues is her love of animals. Her years as a zookeeper inform her work. Currently animals are her primary subject. “From quick clay sketches just for the mud pie joy of it, to commentary on the interesting times we live in, they work for me. So, many of the works for this show are short on subtly and long on commentary. But since I don’t really make art so much for joy as to express ideas and emotions I can’t articulate, I’m OK with that. I’m hoping that with the completion of this show, I can, if not leave commentary out of my work, at least bring a bit more humor and light to it.” She works primarily in stoneware clay, with oxides and underglazes, throwing in some mixed media as needed. I fire both in a conventional downdraft kiln and several alternative firing methods, including American Raku and obvara.
Christopher St. John's paintings are free-flowing and unexpected. He has named his show “By the Moon I Shall Know You”. To explain his new abstractions, Christopher says “I think I have wanted this body to present a life almost as if it were seen in a vision, as a succession of visionary states, or images seen in a trance...kind of like markers on the edge of things. I have always seen the world slanted. I’d like to think these images offer a glimpse into a softer unknown, one that is closer to us than strange would be, a gentle alienation. There is something about the way these paintings wrestle with the idea of the eternal, clumsily it can seem, an art that is completely at the service of a vision of reality. It should be noted that I am deeply interested in representing reality in my work, but the kind of reality, the depth of it, is what is up for grabs. I want to leave the door wide open. The language of modernism is useful in this regard, where I can take representation and abstraction and smash them together as tightly as they can go. In some of the work the abstraction bleeds over, and in some of the pieces the representation provides the window frame.”