Catherine Lane is an established visual artist who lives and works on the stunning north coast of NSW. Catherine has an extensive background in clay and at the outset of her career, following her studies at Charles Sturt University, she trained in the mingei style of folk pottery in a private studio near Mashiko in Japan. It was here she began to learn about the eastern philosophy of wabi sabi which embraces the notion of beauty in disintegration and imperfection and this remains an influence on her work to the present time.
Following extensive travel, overseas teaching and the establishment of a successful ceramics studio with Steve Davies, Catherine’s exhibition work began a gradual shift away from the singular object to incorporate a variety of artmaking materials including adobe, papier mache, steel, bone, natural dyes and artificial grass in installation format. This coincided with the completion of her Masters degree at Southern Cross University in 2000.
In 2011, Catherine undertook a residency at Gaya ceramics in Ubud, Bali. Here she developed a new body of work culminating in the solo exhibition Hortus Conclusus (Walled Garden). Here, she drew parallels with the Balinese way of living in family compounds, to the general way in which we hold close that which is dear, like a lovingly tended garden. This show embraced a diverse set of technical skills incorporating anagama fired works, figurative porcelain pieces, alchemical distillations of flowers, traditional Chinese glazes, and the development of a new clay body specific to firing thick at stoneware temperatures. The most resonant work, however was the installation incorporating slivers of porcelain with affirmations carved into them, wrapped in traditional banana leaves like the nasi bunkos (Balinese lunch boxes) ….each exhibition visitor could choose one and take away the gift of the affirmation. It aligned with the artist’s personal belief that ‘it’s in the giving that we receive’. In 2012, Catherine won the prestigious Townsville Ceramic Art Award for $10,000 , (judged by the late Janet Mansfield) with one of the anagama fired figurative works made on this residency.
Since 2012, Catherine has been one half of the laid bare collaborative with Linelle Stepto . Together, they create site specific installations and artworks focusing on the human connection with nature and our current alienation from it. It’s particularly evident in colonial history and writings and urban myths, driving us to fear nature more and more. Following a successful residency at historic Hill End in 2013, supported by the Bathurst Regional Gallery, their works have been exhibited in the Lorne Sculpture Festival, and the Woodford Folk Festival as well as Scenic World Sculpture Exhibition in the Blue Mountains.
Throughout her career, Catherine has maintained an authenticity to both her ideas and the materials she works with. Nature changes, but the wabi sabi effect of time and disintegration continues.