Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Vanguard Culture's Kristen Schweizer Reviews Cathy Breslaw's Exhibition "Imaginings", Rose Gallery, San Diego

Mixed media often finds solidity in GLUE.
Article by Kristen Schweizer
"Imaginings" Rose Gallery, Exhibition by Cathy Breslaw
Francis Parker School, San Diego

When we hear the term “mixed media,” many merely imagine complicated collages or other fastidiously fastened objects to canvas. At least, this was my inclination. Artist Cathy Breslaw shatters expectations with installations, wall work and drawings that seemingly defy both gravity and light. Her current exhibition, Imaginings, opened yesterday at the James Allen Rose Art Gallery at Francis Parker School in San Diego.
The instantly striking piece is Dream Scape, an installation made from industrial mesh suspended from the high ceilings of the gallery above portions of fabrics and paintings on the floor. Breslaw explained she was “inspired by the natural light, space and open high ceilings of the Rose Gallery.” I, however, was struck by the impactful nature of a fabric often written off as useless. Tulle, industrial mesh: these opaque fabrics are rarely the strength of a dress or window. However, they finally find center stage as somehow both substantial and subtle within Dream Scape.
That same sentiment is throughout her wall pieces as well. Translucent mesh, dyed and layered, seem like Rothko-reminiscent watercolor murals from afar. It is only up close that the viewer realizes her intentional delicacy. The painted mesh, somehow both inspiring a ballerina’s skirt and the protective shield of a screen door, are layered deliberately. The pieces wait unwearyingly; but it is merely a holding pattern. Upon the first breath of the viewer or gesture from the room: the pieces all dance. Alive and reactive to the slightest breeze, they move like the sky and watercolor in motion. It’s impossible to see the piece the same way twice as a result. It requires the viewer to change their opinion, to see new colors within the layers.
Breslaw’s mastery is evident in the construction. More often than not I found myself searching the seams and edges for proof that these pieces were deliberate. The work is so full of life it’s easy to believe that it made itself until you take a closer look…then that the purposeful expression and shape-making becomes apparent.
The genius is echoed in comparison. As the gallery is housed within a school, student mixed media art with colored mesh is also featured. While the students’ color, enthusiasm and ideas show bravely, they prove that a true artist finds more than immediate color, patterns, and texture for her inspiration. The student art is solidly pretty – but that is all it is. Breslaw’s art is impactful in its tenuous patience; a breathless reminder of what beauty actually is.
Imaginings runs from Thursday, April 2 through May 5, open from 7:30AM to 3:30PM at 6501 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111.

Helen Redman 'Lifelines' Retrospective Exhibition at Womens Museum San Diego - Begins April 23rd

Helen Redman: Lifelines
Mesa College, San Diego CA, moving on to Womens' Museum San Diego April 23 - May 31
Article by Cathy Breslaw
Helen Redman    Mesa College    April 2015  (drawings on wood in background)

“A mother speaks to her children through generations”. This quote by Terry Tempest Williams, printed on the first page of Helen Redman’s catalog ‘Lifelines’, describes the essence of Redman’s work as an artist. Redman’s art is courageously expressed through the lens of herself in relationship to motherhood and grandmother-hood. Rather than hiding her gender as many female artists of her generation have done, Redman faces it all head-on. Both her identity and life challenges as a woman and mother take central stage in her paintings and drawings in this retrospective exhibition. For Redman, her role as an artist is inextricably linked to her family as she documents the stages of pregnancy, birth, grief from the death of a child, and the growth of her children and grandchildren at various points into adulthood. Redman began her ‘Lifeline’ series in the early 1960’s.  Her realistic but expressionistic style of drawing and painting have remained consistent throughout the years. Her use of color, form, shape and patterns provide us with direct clues about how Redman was feeling and thinking at any particular point in time each work was created. Using a range of materials – pen and ink, oil pastel, acrylic and oil paint and mixed media, on surfaces ranging from paper, canvas, to wood, Redman’s figurative works also tackle the female through stages of menopause and aging. Though Redman’s work has connections to female painters like Frieda Kahlo and Alice Neel, Redman’s work is more intimate and personal. ‘Lifelines’ is a life-chronicle that along with her family who are fortunate enough to have their lives documented in such a personal way, we can appreciate and perhaps see some of ourselves mirrored in the process. ‘Lifelines’ closes at Mesa College on April 14th but moves on to the Womens’ Museum in San Diego and is on view from April 23- May 31st.