Catherine Eaton Skinner

About

I am a multidisciplinary artist, painter, printmaker and photographer, and sculptor usually in cast glass and bronze. I consider my exhibitions successful when they create a quiet space, suggesting connections to unexplored ideologies with the sense of something outside quotidian life, the powerful convergence of energies and intentions that we describe as meditative. Pursuing a deep investigation of the ritual number 108, I often use repetition and primal tantric forms, investigating how methods of numerical systems and patterning have been used to construct order to an unstable and ever delicate world. My work and travel center on understanding the patterns of cultures and finding ways to align with their chosen sacred spaces. The power of the natural world–its intrinsic energy and fundamental properties– depends on a fine balance. Maintaining the balance among the five elements – earth, fire, water, air and space, and understanding their energies is paramount to our survival. From the Northwest, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Studio Art at Stanford University. I began my professional career as a marine biological illustrator, gradually expanding to cultural subjects: the domestic realm, then distinctive aspects of other sites and peoples as my international opportunities grew. I have developed a full time studio practice in encaustic painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture, working in my Seattle and Santa Fe studios. Completing 35 solo exhibitions and multiple national group invitational shows, I have also attended multiple workshops in printmaking, painting and multimedia. Two residencies at Pilchuck Glass were cast glass with Judy Hill, and images on glass with Joanne Teasdale; two residencies at the Santa Fe Institute of Art were with Nathan Oliviera and then Anne Truitt. 108, a monograph published by Radius Books of Santa Fe and designed by David Chickey, was released in 2016, including 140 images from my serial investigations and featuring my poetry and chronology. Unleashed, a monograph of animal eye encaustic works was published with the Woodland Park Zoo and University Washington Press. I have been fortunate to be included in many personal and public collections over the years of my career.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My work comes from elemental places: water, woods and mountains; air, wind and ether. My mind adds the spice and texture of curiosity and learning. I have always been committed as an artist with developing skills in graphic design, biological illustration, retail work and island farm life. The work began in pen and ink, watercolor, batik, acrylic, and egg tempura, then moved in my late thirties to oil on canvas and encaustic on panel. Now dividing my time between studios in Seattle and Santa Fe, I work as a multidisciplinary artist in oil and encaustic, printmaking, and photography. My sculptures are cast-glass and bronze, and occasionally incorporating fabrics, wire and found objects. I have been fortunate, traveling to increase my knowledge and visual library of cultures that have fascinated me, East Asia, South America and Cuba, Africa, and Europe. My work often pursues a deep investigation of the symbolic number 108, a number both rich in arithmetical power and numerological symbolism associated with eastern religion and philosophy. My use of repetition and primal tantric forms allows both the artistic and spiritual dissolution of myself into the universal whole. This then becomes my connection with the collective thought and heart of all sentient beings: to understand patterns of culture and investigate the sacred spaces we honor. The elements come into play, in the actual physical form: beeswax, resin, and oil; stones and metals, lead sheeting and precious metals; textiles and natural dyes; collected old book pages and Himalayan papers. I love textures, color, simplicity and complications. Each work feels as if I am embarking on a private pilgrimage. I have worked on old tables with three children running around them, in shallow basements and tiny attics. I have had work destroyed by fire and ice. I have experienced the joy of writing. I have continued to learn by self and by masters and by mentors. What I have earned I have passed on to others to encourage their work. My pilgrimage has become who I am in mind and spirit.

Image Gallery

At SFAI

My first residency at SFAI was with Nathan Oliveira in 1999. Nathan had been my painting instructor at Stanford University in the early 60’s., while drawing was with Frank Lobdell. It was rather a wild time as I was also a Premed Major and worked part time illustrating and as a technician in the Biology department. Over thirty years laterI had the immense honor to have those two weeks with Nathan. Every morning we had sit down conversations, critique and discussions with fellow artist. There were 11 of us, some with which I still have contact. Later I was fortunate to visit Nathan in his studio in Palo Alto, and he remains a major influence on my painting, sculpture and reasons why I do this work. My second residency was for a month with Anne Truitt, another stellar influence. We had a long reading list and every morning spent a couple of hours in the library around the table with open discussions on the readings, life and work. My notes from this month are invaluable. The time spent in Santa Fe allowed my husband and I to also become part of the community part time each year, and I maintain a studio here as well as Seattle.

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