Wednesday, October 27 @ 5 – 6:15pm
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Online at Zoom: go.wisc.edu/uw-art-talks
Once an observational painter of cityscapes, Cat Balco makes singular, boldly brushed abstraction paintings with push or hand brooms of varying sizes, never smaller than 12” across. The brooms are significant because they are laborers’ tools, not fine artists’ tools, and they speak to her personal background as the descendant of working class immigrants. The paradox that a painting—potentially one of the most valuable man-made objects—can be made with lowly workman’s tools: push brooms, inexpensive canvas, and paint. The paintings are constructed of a limited sequence of marks—usually about 9 per painting—that are gestural but minimal. By inviting her ancestry into the studio she reconnects the movement to its working class roots, imbuing her compositions with evidence of the manual labor of painting, often rotating her canvases, like gears or engines, so that dripping paint seemed to defy gravity to enter from any and all directions. The works are painted quickly but conceived slowly. Despite the scale of the brushes themselves, the broad swaths of their strokes feel delicate, intimate and generous. They are both respectful of their origins but also newly created, like chunks of icebergs broken from a melting glacier.
Balco retreated from painting for a short time, only to pursue it again prior to receiving her MFA from Yale in 2007, ten years after her BA, also from Yale. As her career relaunched, she took off after abstraction. catbalco.com