In the summer of 2019 I visited ancient caves in France. I remember the temperature of the caves, the lines of raw earth pigment that formed figures & animals on the dark, damp walls. The connection to drawing and to pigment begins with our ancestors and threads through time to present day. I explore the differences between painting and drawing because the shared language offers insight on how we perceive and understand images.
By combining color, form, and patterns, I am able to expand the associations sparked by abstract animal signifiers. The level of representation in the work oscillates between recognizable figurative outlines to fields of color suggesting shape. To me, painting is both additive and subtractive and has no exact set of steps of production - rather a framework that allows in specific gestures, colors and marks in an irreversible order. This unplanned exchange requires my attention to where the patterns and marks lead me. I aim to remain open to movement and unforeseen connections in the work, a practice that reflects my studio habits and my way of operating in the world.
I avoid the notion of ‘knowing’ a form in visual language by conflating soft edge form that pushes against high saturations. Confounding spatial logic and touch in this way offers more questions than answers. The collection and also the subversion of various animals' coats, footprints and patterns in the paintings is far more interesting to me than the naming of the animal. I am not interested in the depiction of the one thing, rather I am interested in how my processes and materials can work with me to create new associations of the subject at hand.
The slippage of form in my paintings mirrors a slippage in language and meaning I notice in the world. Words are entirely abstract - they signify the subject at hand but often morph meaning with context, time, and language. Visually, I am interested in my process and subjects can mirror this dance. This fictional space I build is not based in a logical perspective or specific environment. Pattern is used as a tool to build an environment through repetition and motion - this defies the idea that animal forms might live in a specific space.
Catherine Haggarty, b. 1984, is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York.
Haggarty’s paintings and curatorial work have been reviewed by and featured in Bomb Magazine, Artnet, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Times, Maake Magazine, Art Maaze Magazine, Art Spiel, Final Friday Podcast, Sound and Vision Podcast, The Black and White Project, Curating Contemporary’s book Eraser, and Young Space.
Catherine has been a visiting artist & critic at The University of Oregon (2021). Boston University MFA (2021), SUNY Purchase MFA (2020), Hunter MFA (2020), Denison University (2020), Brooklyn College MFA (2019) and in 2018 Haggarty was the Anderson Endowed Lecturer at Penn State University.
Solo exhibitions include: Massey Klein Gallery (NYC), This Friday Next Friday (Brooklyn), Bloomsburg University (PA), One Main Window (NYC), One River School of Art and Design, Proto Gallery (NJ), and Look and Listen in Marseille France.
Haggarty earned her M.F.A from Mason Gross, Rutgers University in 2011. Currently, Haggarty is an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts (SVA). Haggarty is the Co-Founder and Director of The NYC Crit Club.