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Cathy Barry Interview in A2 Pulp

An abstract image showing circles aligned vertically, rendered in tones of green and brown.

Stamps Lecturer Cathy Barry recently discussed Connatural, an exhibition of her work on view at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, in an interview by Bob Needham for the Ann Arbor District Library’s Pulp.

Nature is the big umbrella of what inspires and has always informed my work,” the Ann Arbor painter writes in her artist’s statement. My most recent work focuses on collecting and referencing biological sources and patterns found in nature.”

Some of those biological sources even provide colors for Barry’s paintings as well as textures embedded into the works.

I am extracting colors from local sources — in the backyard or the grocery store — including buckthorn, cattail, turmeric root, forsythia, beets, mulberry, yellow and purple onion skins,” the Stamps lecturer writes in her artist’s statement. I then reference older practices by experimenting with inlay work of painted paper, traditionally used to create jewelry, furniture, mosaics and textiles. I am creating motifs and abstract compositions by cutting shapes from my plant-based paintings, fitting them together and assembling them. I am integrating materials with form and subject in my painting to evoke a peaceful wholeness that references the innate wisdom of nature.”

Connatural: Paintings by Cathy Barry is on view through April 30 at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 Dixboro Rd. Ann Arbor, 48105).