A master of the surface and abstraction, Catherine Woo’s striking new body of work is the product of an instinctive and powerful alliance with the natural forces that surround us.
For her third solo exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery, Woo continues to explore the mutable boundaries and energies in our relationship with the environment. In these latest works, she employs the concept of the mirage to explore a particular effect of light, at once shimmering and illusory, that dances between real and apparent movement.
Through the application of reflective materials, Woo probes the shifting territory between what is real (light) and what is manifested in our mind’s eye, effectively highlighting the fluid nature of perception. Drawing on raw materials and natural techniques, the rippled surfaces of her paintings not only evoke the natural world – undulations of water, formations of earth, glistening sand – but are also shaped by it:
“Using a collaborative approach with natural processes and materials – interactions of water, vibration and evaporation giving agency to matter - I am seeking to use process rather than representation to describe this ephemeral quality of light moving in waves; at once trying to capture something in material form whilst acknowledging its essentially elusive quality.” - Catherine Woo, 2017
Woo’s innovative approach to painting is imbued in these remarkable works. Layered and textured, shimmering and ethereal, they simultaneously speak to themes of beauty, nature, and geography, while resisting representation in the pursuit of more philosophical concerns. As with the mirage, they deftly balance between what we know and what we believe we see.