Cathy Franzi, On the nature of things, Cathy Franzi, Heath Banksia, 2016, porcelain, wheel thrown & altered, engobe, sgraffito, H 51 x W 20.5 x D 19cm
Sabbia Gallery is pleased to present this solo exhibition from ceramic artists Cathy Franzi.
My inspiration for this body of work is drawn from the beautiful and hardy plant species that grow together on the remnant sand of the Sydney sandstone cliffs.
This ecosystem – the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub – is full of iconic plants, including four types of Banksias, Flannel Flowers and the Mountain Devil. In preparation to making, I wandered and botanised in two of the last remaining areas, La Perouse and North Head, Manly.
The title of the show references the 2000-year-old epic poem by Lucretius, in which he elegantly examines the natural world and the nature of existence. I ponder upon these timeless subjects and hope a rich biodiversity remains to feed our imagination into the future.
Cathy Franzi is a full-time studio artist and was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Arts (Ceramics) from the Australian National University School of Art in 2015. Through her ceramic practice she explores ways to represent Australian flora and the environments they inhabit. Her work is underpinned by an interest in the historic interplay between culture and study of nature. This led to the research of ceramics, prints and botanical illustrations in museums and galleries around the world. She is fascinated in the cultural values attributed to plant species, their interconnection within ecosystems and how botanical and environmental knowledge might be expressed.
Cathy has developed a distinctive textural approach to representing Australian flora, adapting aspects of relief printmaking methods and composition to the ceramic medium. By creating her own materials, tools and processes she reflects this influence, where her final work evokes the surface sheen of printed ink and remnant texture reveals each hand gesture. A plant’s character is expressed in vessel form through techniques on the wheel, with colour through glazes, and its morphology through mark making into the Limoges porcelain surface.
Botanical research is fundamental to the integrity of Cathy’s work and is supported by her Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney. In preparation for a body of work, time is spent in the field observing, drawing and photographing plants. Whether accompanying botanists, or in a herbarium or seed bank, insights and methods of scientific research inform and become embedded in her studio practice.
Cathy Franzi’s work is held in public collections, including Canberra Museum and Gallery, the ACT Legislative Assembly Art Collection and Manly Art Gallery and Museum. In 2013, a work from her solo exhibition ‘Painting the Hills of Canberra’ was included in the Canberra Centenary Time Capsule. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Australian Postgraduate Award, the Nelson Nichols Scholarship in Ceramics and most recently in the 2016 North Queensland Ceramic Awards. Currently she is a Visiting Fellow in the Research School of Biology, ANU as part of the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s College Artist Fellows Scheme.