Cathy Breslaw’s solo exhibition, “Contemplation”, currently on display at the Gotthelf Art Gallery in theSan Diego Center for Jewish Culture, is a thoughtful exploration of nature, space and time. Breslaw’s artistic interpretation of abstract concepts is formed through the integration of paint, sculpture, and installation, which collectively create a whimsical visual effect.
Breslaw’s signature trademark of applying industrial mesh and mixed media with ornamental detail embodies a sense of wonder and fantasy that allow the viewer to construct new meaning out of conventional materials. The artistic juxtaposition of subtle and bold colors, soft and hard textures, and transparent, yet layered constructions support the contrasting themes of fragility and strength that are present throughout Breslaw’s work.
“Contemplation” reveals the transitions and transformations that exist within nature and present the viewer with an opportunity to reflect upon the various stages of life. These themes are mirrored in pieces, such as “Metamorphosis”, which illustrates how harmonious forms and disparate patterns intersect and coexist in perfect balance.
In “Life Line 1”, intricate threads sewn upon layers of softly colored mesh are reminiscent of birth and coming into being, while threads interlaced upon layers of black mesh in “Life Line 2”, resemble conclusion and transition.
Breslaw’s inspiration for “Contemplation” was derived, in part, from her Jewish roots and the idea of honoring the high Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The concepts of spiritual renewal, awakening and forgiveness are highlighted in “Call of the Shofar: 100 Sounds”, which stands as the centerpiece of the exhibition. The collection of fourteen pieces presented in “Contemplation” were selected from existing works, as well as created, specifically for the exhibit.
The pieces in “Contemplation” appear to suspend throughout the gallery, as the lighting permits the artwork to reflect upon the walls and floor, allowing each piece to take on a movement and life of its own. The effect Breslaw hopes to create through the use of her artistic technique is to demonstrate how everyday materials can be reimagined and experienced in new ways when restored and transformed into masterful pieces of art.