Patty Caetura’s “Distant Exposures” in the Korn Gallery

by Taylor Tracy, Staff Writer

Between cell phones, laptops, tablets, television and even Snapchat Spectacles, technology forms a complex world around us that can be overwhelming. Contemporary artist Patty Cateura’s work, on view in the Korn Gallery’s current exhibition “Distant Exposure,” responds to this daily barrage of digital images.

Her work includes intense and intentional color field paintings of usually remote landscapes. Also on view are media from other parts of Cateura’s process and artistic practice, including a collage and seven sculptures. The more physical and textural qualities of the sculpture and collage are positioned in conversation with the pared down compositions of Cateura’s often saturated and chemical palette paintings. About this relationship, she said, “It’s a really different medium. It’s a different way of expressing what I’m doing in the paintings.”

The landscapes, all work made in the past four years, come from views or “exposures” that Cateura has seen in her travels to places like the Southwest, Vermont, Utah and Colorado. She said, “The work comes from places I’ve visited in nature. Often, they’re remote.”

Reflecting on her favorite place she has visited for her work, Cateura said, “I loved going to the Southwest where it’s all dry and desert-y and there are all of the big rocks.” She added, “It’s so different from here where I grew up in the Northeast.”

Cateura visits sites and take notes about interesting views and parts of the landscape that she has seen, but she doesn’t work from photographs. About her process, “I think about the space that I saw and distill it down.” Her paintings take landscapes and strip them down to blocks of color and lines that are sometimes ambiguous. They require focus and close study to see the world that Cateura has captured on the canvas.

Drewid Kristina Olsen (’20), who works for the art department, enjoys Caterua’s fresh, crisp landscapes. About them, she said, “I like how she simplifies the landscape down to bold, simple color but they still have a strong presence in the space.”

Color forms an essential part of this world. Cateura makes her own paints by mixing pigment dispersions with an acrylic medium. About the influence of this choice on her work, she said, “I can mix colors more intensely, whereas if you buy pigment in a store you can’t mix as many or as intense colors.”

Inspired by artists like color-field painter Ellsworth Kelly, Cateura’s paintings are composed of blocks of specific color. She said, “I love huge fields of color that give you an infinity space of color. I wanted to have large blocks of color but still reference nature.”

Cateura also creates space through these blocks of color, using them to suggest forms and make reference to natural elements. The calm and simplified landscapes are also meant to be a break from our over stimulating, everyday lives. About space in her work, she said, “It’s a space the viewer can look at and kind of relax in.”

Drewids who are starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed by finals, the news or anything else should come to the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts to see Cateura’s work. As she said about what she hopes Drewids will take away from seeing her paintings, “I hope they understand that art can transport.”
The exhibition will be on view until April 25. The Korn Gallery is open Tues.-Fri. 12:30-4 p.m. as well as by appointment. For more information about the gallery and to learn about upcoming exhibitions, go to: drew.edu/korngallery.

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