The First Five
The First Five
Past work by artist and sculptor Catherine Ross
This exhibition consists of two distinct parts – sculptures of rocking horses and huge three-metre drawings she made in a process involving paper and steel plates. All the works were made in the 1980’s – the drawings between ’82 and ’85 and ’89. Two drawings are from her days at the Banff School of Fine Arts while others were created while at Dalhousie University in Halifax. They reflect on the places she was living at the time with the Banff efforts being highly concentrated, almost claustrophobic in nature. The Dalhousie-era works are more reflective of the seascape of the East Coast, open with distinct horizons.
The rocking horses, with their sharp edges and animated stances, are not the kind people would associate with childhood. But they do give people the chance to reflect back on a part of their lives they have long since left behind. “I didn’t want to make carousel horses. I wanted something that was on the edge and modern and contemporary.” She also wanted the works to allude to childhood but with their distinct layers and edges, she wanted to show the reality of life.
The rocking horses have all played a role in her personal life. One with two horses together has been a fixture for several years in the living room of Savill Group Architecture owner John Savill. The sculpture has one horse slightly ahead of the other, suggesting a competition but as Ross points out, people sitting on them would have to rock in unison to get the piece rocking.
As an artist, Ross tries to keep her sculptures simple and readily accessible to a wide audience. “In the ’70s and ’80s, art was intimidating for some people. It was confusing. I didn’t want to produce work like that. I wanted to keep it simple.”
– excerpt form Lethbridge Herald article, 2001, written by Al Beeber
To watch a video about Catherine and her art and work at the University of Lethbridge, follow the link to YouTube