Catherine Brooks
Four Directions: South, EarthFour Directions: North, WindFour Directions: West, WaterFour Directions: East, FireThunder Brother, Sister WindSame Sire, Same SunBlack Tongue in BlossomSpeak SweetlyNeptune's DaughterIndigo EyesSolar ComplexMoon BreathLinkedWhat Glows BelowIda & Pingala"There's a Light"DelusionUnfoldPatrimonial PyreThe Force of TruthPattern of VisionRestrictive PatternsMezzanine ExaltationSorrow's BlossomThrough Your EyesMoon PatternChaise Noir (Paris,FR)Crystal BushShadow Dance IIShadow Dance I
My work in print and performance is inspired by the practice of yoga, related Tantric art and theory, as well as a critical, life-long participation in New Age culture. In my etchings I aim to highlight points of intersection between formal structures and subtle energies. Like the simple, geometric designs within Yantras, my images are designed to draw attention into their centers and to be used as tools to experience something simultaneously intimate and infinite.
In the printmaking studio I follow a similar methodology to yoga asana exercise—which endeavors to align the physical body with a Universal source or “optimal blueprint”—by first establishing simple designs on multiple plates and then printing systematic plate combinations to achieve harmonious unions. Many artists have found the mediated, slow process of etching to be suitable for working with chance operations. Richard Tuttle, for example, relied on kinesthetic energy tests to make decisions in the studio, something I witnessed while working with him at Crown Point Press. For me, repetitive and random alignment is analogous to New Age truth seeking, which (often optimistically) participates with the unknown.
In my most recent prints I’ve adapted, combined and personalized symbols that were introduced to me at an early age through hippy ephemera. I initiated this project in order to actively adopt, rather than passively inherit, aspects of ancient mystical systems of divination. In the style of the New Age—which appropriates and amalgamates—I have woven together a variety of cultural artifacts from Celtic mythology, the Indian cosmological Chakra system and Taoist I Ching. When these varied symbol-forms are integrated through the transparent intaglio printing process new signs are developed along with representations of their abstract potential, the two in synergistic relationship. Each hybrid image-icon embodies a composite of elemental and iconic potency. I think of this fusion as being similar to Agnes Martin’s grids, which to me embody the power of the American Southwestern landscape. Although she claimed her work was with out an external reference, I consider her efforts to be a non-dualistic compression of figure and ground into one, an articulation of the continuity between the two. Like Martin’s grids, I hope for my work, to not only present a specific structure but also, to hold within that form its dynamic content.