Catherine Bertola

My work involves creating installations, objects and drawings that respond to particular sites, collections and historic contexts. Underpinning the work is a desire to look beyond the surface of objects and buildings, to uncover forgotten and invisible histories of places and people, as a way of reframing and considering the past. Often drawing on the historic role of women in society, craft production and labour. My work is not medium specific, the materials used are very much born out of what is appropriate for the ideas and context within which the work is being shown, and is often produced using found materials, imagery, objects and processed that are collected from or familiar to the site. Ideas are developed through extensive research into a particular site or context, whether that is a building, collection or community. This excavation of history and heritage, allows me to develop a deeper and more personal understanding, enabling the work produced to have a more profound relationship within the environment it is made to exist in. The research is carried out through a number of methods, reading, looking, touching, talking and making, all of which inspire and inform the development of the final work. Past installations have involved using dust, a material once described as the matter of history. The dust is applied to or cleaned from surfaces of spaces, to create beautiful wallpaper and carpet patterns, the choice of patterns relating to specific periods of time, as a way of connecting the contemporary existence of a space with it's past and reinstating a sense of intimate domesticity to uninhabited spaces. Other work has been produced in response to museum collections, such as work about the history and heritage of lace. Lace has become a quintessentially feminine, domestic and sexualised fabric whose origins of production are rooted in anonymous female labour. One resulting work, Anatomy, has involved a series of drawings of contemporary lace underwear; the patterns of the garments are drawn using pinpricks, alluding to traditional templates used in the making of bobbin lace. More recent work has involved the use of found photographs, where images of empty interiors from buildings that no longer physically exist in the world are reanimated using both still and moving image. By inserting my own presence into the photographs to create imagery and films, that create an impossible merging of the past and present, where I become trapped miniature worlds of fantasy, that are as sinister as they are romantic. All the work I make, whatever the physical outcome, draws on traditional and familiar domestic crafts, objects and skills as a method of making, and it is fundamentally interested in the idea of invisible labour and occupation, both my own and that of people who have gone before me. read full statement

Location Blaydon on Tyne, North East