Catherine Howe

Pressed Flowers 

October 3 - November 7 2020

The gallery is thrilled to announce an exhibition of new monotypes made by Catherine Howe during the spring and summer of 2020, in her Hudson Valley studio, where, in addition to painting, the artist cultivates an expansive flower garden.

 

To create the works in the show, Howe paints on a slab of glass over which she places and presses paper, or Habotai silk, to create a unique indirect painting called a monotype. The monotype process allows for simultaneous phenomena of control and its opposite: areas of paint move and run and otherwise respond unexpectedly when met by paper or silk. The resulting works are extravagantly colorful and lush, replete with recognizable floral elements as well as expressive, extravagant marks that evoke the body, fauna, and occasionally veer into exuberant abstraction. 

 

Printing on Habotai silk that she later stretches over a wooden frame, Howe evokes the delicate materiality of the trousseau, a strategy that places her practice at interesting odds with the gendered legacies of abstract expressionism. The title of the show refers to the Victorian hobby; girls and ladies pressed fresh flowers between the pages of a book as a means of preservation (of the flowers themselves but also of a special day or friendship.)

In an accompanying essay, Howe writes, “The garden is both a metaphoric and actual space for the artwork to be realized. It’s a complex setting: culture only exists as ideas but nature is always there, and a garden contains a duality of both. I was partly hoping to turn my practice of painting into a balm and a consolation during these culturally disturbing times. I hope the residue of this wish is there for viewers of the paintings. . . The painting practice though is not always a comfort and the garden is never merely pretty. As you look closer, it is in constant turmoil beneath its canopy of loveliness.”

 

Howe is a Professor on the Graduate Painting Faculty at the New York Academy of Art, where she leads a seminar on contemporary art. She is represented by Winston Wächter in New York and has exhibited extensively in the United States, including solo exhibitions at Lesley Heller Workspace, Casey Kaplan Gallery, Von Lintel Gallery, the William Shearburn Gallery, and more. Her work has also been included in international exhibitions in Paris, London, Munich, and Amsterdam. In less fraught times, she moves between a studio in Manhattan and in a farmhouse in the Hudson Valley.

Image is "Silk Monotype (Black Garden No. 2)," 2020. Acrylic and mica on Habotai silk. 48 x 36 inches.

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