Friday, September 18, 2015

Cathy Ward at The Good Luck Gallery

Cathy Ward and Eric Wright have headed back to the UK, but Cathy’s solo US debut is up through Oct 3rd at The Good Luck gallery in L.A,’s Chinatown. I've written about Cathy's extraordinary scratchboard drawings a couple of times (here and here), but never had the chance to see more than a couple at a time in person until her current show. My first impression was that I was in some kind of Victorian era Jules Verne bathysphere (or bathyscube I guess) studded with portholes, each one looking out on a different murky, mysterious parallel reality -- all of which seemed to be made out of hair.

On further inspection, it became clear that Cathy's work has expanded its territory considerably (this particular strain -- a bigger picture of her multiple oeuvres can be explored here and here and here). The most remarkable examples of this new direction was a trio of works grouped together at the center of the gallery's north wall. Collectively entitled Insoluble Conflicts, these works incorporate washes of sumi ink that are explored and refined with scratchboard-type incisions. 

The new painterly quality conjures the badass Anglo romantic tradition of William Blake and JMW Turner, while the aleatory compositional technique -- wherein Cathy teases out hallucinatory imagery from cloudy washes -- and the informational density of the results trigger associations with German artists Albrecht Durer and Max Ernst (particularly the one with the Loplopesque bird), all of which is in keeping with the artist's fascination with Euro-paganism. I'm not sure how Da Vinci's Deluge drawings fit in, but it probably has something to do with the Freemasons.

Cathy Ward's work has been selected for inclusion in Pulse Miami in December, so her prices are certain to escalate. Snap 'em up now!

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