For this exhibition, Cat has created seven new wall-hung leather sculptures — shrouds that speak to what is obscured. On one level they are explorations of form, sketch-like referencing classical sculpture, anatomy and life drawing. Yet they also suggest diverse narratives around the seen and the unseen, memory and grief, transience and mortality and the interplay of sculpture and the monument.
From the Renaissance to the 21st century, worm-ridden to diamond-encrusted, skulls have featured in western art. Here Cat brings her distinctive take on the tradition allowing her chosen medium to drape and mould — almost theatrically but ultimately simply and quietly suggestive.
The sense of memento mori in these works connects conceptually very directly with two other projects in which Cat is engaged. At the end the month she opens a new exhibition — The Horses Stayed Behind
— of work produced during her Tylee Cottage Artist Residency at the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui. The centrepeice is a large wall work of 500 Victorian hair-wreathes. Made of horsehair, the work records the New Zealand horses that went to World War 1 and never returned. In August, she will be representing New Zealand in the TRIO Sculpture Biennale in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where her work, building on this Wellington exhibition, will explore contemporary sculpture’s engagement with public monument.
After Brazil, Cat will spend a year completing a Master of Fine Arts at Northumbria University in Newcastle.
Image: Cat Auburn – Shroud, 2015, leather, 320 x 200 x 120 mm
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.