Paintings, sculpture and works on paper: Catherine Carmichael

We are pleased to present an exhibition of sculpture, paintings and works on paper by the Canadian artist Catherine Carmichael.

Strongly influenced by a background in improvised movement and dance, Carmichael’s sculptural works reference the body and its dynamism in space, while her drawing and paintings are often intuitive responses to daily life. Three large floor sculptures from the 1980s anchor the exhibition, each of which harken back to the artist’s early performance works which Carmichael began in 1979 before moving into sculpture in 1986. She has said that “performance is like building sculpture, only instead of it being an object it’s happening within a specific time frame.” By contrast the paintings and works on paper are all recent. Often diaristic and reflecting the artist’s perpetual wonder at the basic fact of being, the drawings and watercolours can be densely active, text-based or elegantly spare and open. Everyday existence, internal dialogue, the cycle of life and decay, yearnings, doubt, exuberance, the messy vagaries and conflicting pulls of contemporary life all shine through. Should one care to look for them, associations can be made with the work of Maria Lassnig (especially in Lassnig’s interest in “body consciousness” or Körpergefühlmalerei in her native German), the expressive sculpture of AR Penck, of Louise Bourgeois and Marlene Dumas, the earth/body works of Ana Mendieta and the restrained drawings of Silvia Bachlii.

Catherine Carmichael has an MFA from Concordia University, Montreal. She also studied at OCAD, Toronto and Emily Carr, Vancouver. Since 1977, the artist’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions throughout Ontario including Mercer Union (1988), Montreal, Vancouver, and New York City. Carmichael has also presented performances in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Guelph. Her drawings were included in the group show, Drawings, at Clint Roenisch in January 2019.