CATHERINE BERTOLA

Seam, Installation View 2007 Catherine Bertola.

Gold Leaf in Concrete Installation for ‘MOVED’ at Workplace Gallery
Dimensions Variable
CB0040
Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK
Looking at the YSP website I came across work by Catherine Bertola which I really like, so googled her and came upon the Workplace Gallery Website, which has an exhibition of her work on until the 23rd of September this year. I was flabbergasted to see her beautiful Seam works shown, and especially the pic above, which I have inadvertently managed to replicate!
My work A Few Small Repairs, 2011
I remember talking with fellow students about this when we started out, and frequent cries of ‘someone else has already made my work!’ would echo round those studios, proclaiming a mixed sense of frustration, jealousy and despair.
What’s the point if it’s already been done?
What’s the point if there are quicker minds than mine out there, so far ahead in their thinking than me??
BUT, as my foundation tutor (Mr Phil Tyler) used to say to us repeatedly, there is no such thing as an original idea, but each time it’s done you’re coming at it from a different angle, heading towards a different place. Nonetheless, there is not much point simple repeating work done by others (not to mention the legal implications!), but now these things make me really happy:
I feel validated that I’m on the right track, whatever that might be for me, and I feel really grateful the artist that has already made that thing I was thinking about has done it for me, thank you very much, which is nothing but helpful.
I am very much looking forward to visiting the Workplace Gallery next week and getting up close enough to really appreciate the workmanship which is clearly an integral part of Bertola’s work.
Fantastic that the show is on right at this moment!
Fantastic that Bertola is working with the overlooked, cherishing the parts of the world which aren’t ordinarily valued, including dust and cobwebs- this interest has clearly filtered into the world to be picked up by people (like me).
Now I can look at this work and think about why these things are overlooked, why there is poetry in celebrating them, and possibly even why the thinking is noticing them now…
I feel work brewing already… Thanks Catherine Bertola, thank you for your beautiful work.

Fine Art Foundation Degree Show, City College 2011

Drawing on our group experience of previous shows we have produced, the whole group has worked really hard to present a show which is mature and optimistic. To me it feels as if the work exhibited is both a summation of the past 2 years working together, and a proposal for where the work will move on to next.

Work is presented by Lauren Alderslade, Joanna Brown, Mercedes Ferrari, Susan Keshet, Margaux le Lonquer, Archie Muir-MaKenzie, Omar Saif and Tuesday Schumacher Jones and Charlotte Willoughby-Parsons.

The development of practices over the course, and the freedoms it offers are shown in the variety of mediums on show. For me personally, it has been of tremendous benefit to have worked in a shared space with artists working in different ways, as it has exposed me to the motivations and intentions others use to create work. This has caused me repeatedly to question my own choices, resulting in a more rigorous critique and belief in my work.

Two of the artists who to have demonstrated this to me are Lauren Alderslade and Joanna Brown:

Lauren has developed into a confident painter this year, after starting the course doing lots of sculptural work. Observing her as she morphed figures and juxtaposed textures, I got a real sense of the 3D feeding back into her 2D work, resulting in paintings which feature hybrid animals, and a drawing which takes on a tangible presence as it gallops across and up a wall. I am looking forward to watching Lauren develop further on the Painting BA at Brighton.

Joanna Brown’s work has moved in the opposite direction to Laurens’, from 2D to 3D, whilst like Lauren, maintaining the interest and concepts driving both.

In the work Here and There, the observer enters a darkened space and is presented with 2 similar spy holes to peer through. Whilst the view is similar , with each view the seeming mirror image of the other, it creates the conundrum of how it’s done. The feeling of intrigue and confusion, interest and the yearning to understand, are the elegant expression of an inquiry into human responses to each valuable moment of life. Joanna’s work pauses time for me, makes me notice how I have stopped thinking momentarily to observe and appreciate the observing. Having previously sought to express these moments in paintings featuring crashing waves or volcanoes of colour, this subtle installation shows a maturity and continuity of work.

My own work was presented as a large sculptural piece, accompanied by subtle interventions within the building and the intatllation of a band of wide copper tape encircling the studio building.

Call (large), 2011 is the culmination of a year spent considering the qualities of the copper as a material, and the uses it is put to by man, coupled with the process of sharing a space and working closely and intensely with people and tutors over the course. The personal reflections this provokes, including conversations and concerns are involved in the production of my work on a personal level, and are presented for exhibition in an abstract yet direct manner.

The scale of the copper coil invites the observer to move around in space to view it from all sides, and serves to highlight the properties of the metal, including reflection and sharp edges. In contrast to the weight of the material, it is formed in a way which appears springy and lithe, as it defies gravity and maintains it’s shape.

The movement implied by the coil is fed by the animated drawings of Lauren on the wall behind, and results in the upstairs gallery feeding back down into the gallery below, which features work which draws the visitor into the furthest corners of the space.

The overall impression is of a successful exhibition demostrating the co-operation of a group of artists. I feel very strongly that as a group we have worked well together, and have been lucky to have been in the same place at the same time.

Thanks to the building for providing cover for us for the last 2 years.