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Calgary artist goes big (and abstract)

VASA hosts Catton's Passion Series

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 06:00 am

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  • PASSION IN PAINT – Calgary artist Deborah Catton is bringing a series of abstract works with an exhibit entitled The Passion Series.
    PASSION IN PAINT – Calgary artist Deborah Catton is bringing a series of abstract works with an exhibit entitled The Passion Series.
    APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette
  • RELATABLE ART – Abstract artist Deborah Catton hopes that viewers of her art will find something in the images that moves them.
    RELATABLE ART – Abstract artist Deborah Catton hopes that viewers of her art will find something in the images that moves them.

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The Passion Series
Abstract artworks by Deborah Catton
On display at VASA Gallery
Exhibit runs until Friday, March 28
Opening reception on Saturday, March 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Artist will be in attendance

VASA
25 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue
(Hemingway Centre)
Call 780-460-5990 or visit www.vasa.ca for more information.

The Visual Arts Studio Association doesn’t care if Valentine’s Day has come and gone. The local gallery is going to get passionate in a big, big way.

All credit goes to Calgary painter Deborah Catton. The abstract artist has set up a show called The Passion Series that surely must have been created from a lot of paint and a lot of enthusiasm. How else could you explain the scope of some of her works?

A highlight will surely be the two large canvases that will be hung like a tapestry. She completed the 2.6 by 1.8-metre project when she was doing a residency in Ottawa in the summer of 2013.

“I’m so excited about being able to show those,” she stated.

She graduated with her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Calgary back in 1988. Raising a family and taking a different career as an herbalist (with a full-time clinical practice in Calgary for the last two decades) both left her unfulfilled in certain creative areas of her life.

Art, as it turns out, is something that she is so passionate about that she just couldn’t ignore it any longer.

“I decided about six or seven years ago that I was going to make a real conscious effort to try to move back into my art. I was using different processes with some of my clientele and that got me going back into my own body of work. Now, I’m working virtually full time as an artist as well.”

“I think when you really feel deep down inside that that’s what you’re meant to do and how you’re supposed to express yourself, if you’re not following that then I think you’re doing more harm to yourself than not. I feel like I’m back on track.”

The Passion Series is probably the best way for her to make her big debut in St. Albert. Some may remember that she donated some work for last year’s Square One fundraiser for the Art Gallery of St. Albert. Those pieces were only one foot by one foot, however.

Catton is not usually content to work small. She has a triptych in this show where each piece measures 63 centimetres by 1.75 metres each. Then there’s a panel work that she finished in Paris last fall. It’s made of 49 individual panels.

It’s obvious that she put a lot of herself into the entire effort.

“It just came to me that I wanted to work on a body of work that touched into places – moments, really – where I felt something passionate was surging through me,” she continued.

“I spent a lot of time reflecting through journal work, going back and looking at times in my life, picking moments that I wanted to work with. A lot of what I explore are relationships, no matter what series I’m focused on. The relationships, the human condition, feelings, emotions that we carry as human beings … those are things that I’m very interested in.”

The Passion Series is not meant to simply be an exercise in self-indulgence. She explained that she hopes viewers will get something out of it for themselves.

“[The works] definitely have a very personal context to them. They’re relatable in a way that someone looking at them could be moved in whatever way that they see something that they relate to without that necessarily being about my content.”


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