Connatural, a new exhibition of paintings by Stamps Lecturer Cathy Barry that incorporates pigments made from plants and earth, opens at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens with a reception on January 8 from 2 – 4 pm.
Nature is the big umbrella of what inspires and has always informed my work. The climate crisis has created an urgency that has called many artists to make works that speak to the beauty, preciousness and precariousness of our environment. My recent work goes a step further by challenging the nature of making art itself. By bringing attention to the materials of painting in particular, my work asks us to consider the impact of making art on the environment. 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. 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
January 8‑April 30
Opening Reception January 8, 2 – 4 p.m.
University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 Dixboro Rd. Ann Arbor, 48105