Open Frequency 2008: Rachel Cattle selected by Cathy Lomax
Rachel Cattle, Untitled, 2008. Graphite pencil. 50cm x 70cm
Artist and curator Cathy Lomax profiles the work of London-based artist Rachel Cattle
Rachel Cattle's work is charged with an anxious emotion. Large areas of her drawings are filled in, colouring book style, with school regulation lead pencil. These heavily pencilled surfaces dominate her spare monochrome drawings, which often come together to make comic books such as 'The Darkness'. She also makes sculptures such as 'Red Boots' (2005), a pair of oversized shiny red boots that could have belonged to a Disney character except that they are made from newspaper and parcel tape.
Her cited influences are horror and folklore, more specifically classic horror films, Dr Who, The Addams family and tales of mythologized creatures such as yetis and werewolves and her work she says is founded in fear and anxiety; “from the dark and unspeakable creatures that live under the bed to the witches that live out in the forest.”
A recent work (2007) is a film and comic book made in collaboration with Steve Richards called Same Old Scene (named after the Roxy Music song). The film is made up of drawn backdrops that the camera sweeps across before showing the action, which utilises techniques used in 1970s' children's tv. The film focuses on remembered moments from favourite films, gathering them together to create a new story that as Cattle says is less of a narrative and more of a mood. The moments are not always identifiable and as the artists admit it often turns out that they were not actually in the remembered film but have been refined and recreated over time by their memories. The charm of the film is in Cattle's wobbly drawings and paper models, which are operated by an intervening hand such as the paper record player which plays a paper version of Roxy Music's 'Same Old Scene'.
Cattle's work is grounded in low-fi, diy aesthetics. These are a vitally important part in creating the mood of childhood frustrations and memories. This 'look' combined with snatches from a shared popular culture of folk tales and film gives the work a melancholic overtone, which is enhanced by its childlike cuteness.
Cathy Lomax, 2007
Rachel Cattle lives and works in London and is currently an Associate Lecturer at Central St Martins College Of Arts and Camberwell College Of Arts. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include:
And No More Shall We Part, De Montfort Hall, The City Gallery Offsite, Leicester (solo); Persistence of Vision, Phoenix Arts, The City Gallery Offsite, Leicester (solo); Closer, Wolstenholme Projects, Liverpool; Publish and Be Damned, Kunstverein München at Goethe Art Institute, New York; Life Is Only Half The Story, St. Joseph's Hospice Auction, patron Victoria Miro
Same Old Scene, Transition Gallery, London (solo); True love, Centre For Recent Drawing, London (solo); Home, Artagencyint, Berlin; Stick Stamp Fly, Gasworks, London; Publish and be Damned, Rochelle School, London; Lessons in Learning, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Gift, Museum Man, Liverpool; Objects In Waiting, End Gallery, Sheffield; Publish and be Damned, Rochelle School, London; Paperworld, Transition Gallery, London; Britishness, Curated by Another Product, Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester
About Cathy Lomax
Cathy Lomax's curatorial interests are very varied; her projects are drawn together by a theme which is generally quite tangible and is often based in aspects of popular or everyday culture. Most of her curatorial work takes place at Transition Gallery which is the space that she set up in 2002 after finishing her Fine Art MA at Central St Martins.
Lomax is also a practising artist; she likes to draw all the strands of her practice together which means she will often make work for projects that she is curating. In her curated shows she likes to mix together emerging and more established artists often combining practitioners from different strands of the arts. Previous projects have included fine artists alongside illustrators, fashion photographers, costume makers etc etc.
The educational background of the artist is irrelevant and she often works with outsider artists and practitioners who haven't followed the traditional art school route. 'I like to relate my curated projects to where thay are taking place and generally avoid traditional 'white cube' style exhibitions.'
Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.