Catherine Woo

Catherine Woo’s works provide a visual exploration of the inter-relationship between humans, their bodies and the natural environment. Her delicate, abstract forms, rendered in intensely detailed surfaces, draw forth various analogies between the body and the environment. Catherine describes the works as landscapes, but by infusing aspects of the body within them, an ambiguity arises that blurs the traditional notion that the landscape is outside of the body.

By using a range of unconventional materials, Catherine creates works that are both macro and micro-interpretations of natural phenomena. Elements such as iron, silica, calcium carbonate, mica and black sand are combined to evoke flesh; rivers; plant forms; arteries; cloud patterns. These views could be aerial views of earth, imprints left in sediments at the bottom of a lake or microscopic snapshots from within the body. In conflating the regions of the body and the environment, new possibilities are explored where the self is inextricable from the environment that contains it.

In 2010, Woo was included in an exhibition at the Samstag Museum in Adelaide titled Abstract Nature. In 2008, Woo was awarded a $20,000 New Work grant by the Australia Council Visual Art Board and was included in the Biennial of Australian Art in Adelaide. She has completed commissions for the Shangri-la Hotel, Beijing; Four Seasons, Hong Kong; Ritz Calton Hotel, Shanghai; Westin Hotel, Taipei; and Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong, as well as being represented in private and corporate collections in Australia, Britain and Asia.

All Artwork

Painting with Weather is an exploration of natural forces, collaboration with environment, and realisation of ‘process as practice’. Catherine Woo dances between disorder and control to co-create her striking and raw plates.

Painting with Weather evolved through a bi-fold intention – to create a painting system whereby to some extent the works would create themselves, and to combine this with an existing framework of exploring matter, body and environment. The desire to have the works self-propagate was somewhat prosaic in its genesis, read: time poor artist needs assistance from natural process to achieve artwork outcomes. What manifested was a partnership with the immediate environment around the studio – the guttering was re-directed into the studio, and its seepage, flowing and wave motions were combines with vibration and evaporation – and a collaboration with the weather came into being. The resulting works document this process, where the involvement of the artist is no greater than the processes deployed, leaving not so much a record of my perception of the environment, as a trace of our alliance.