It has been much too long since we have had a chance to see what has been going on in Catherine Everett’s studio out in Oxford Station, Ontario. Life has a funny way of forcing its way through the door and before one knows it, time has passed and life has moved on. This is never really a worry in Catherine Everett’s case - she is a consummate artist, something that could never be taught and that is always a part of her psyche. Judging by the work in this exhibition the wait, as we knew it would be, has been well worthwhile.
The most striking quality of these new paintings by Everett is that they are packed with feeling and activity, but never to the point of becoming emotional or of losing their way. And the way that they pursue is that of a kind of abstract wasteland. The choice of words to describe the effect of Everett’s paintings is meaningful in relation to T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. The surfaces of these paintings, the quality of the drawing, the colour, the seemingly infinite tonal range and a certain “darkness” in overall impression, all are superbly suited to talk about amind-scape that appears to track a human presence just at the edge of our perception.
At the same time these paintings draw the viewer in and create a certain intimacy of connectivity. No matter what the scale, they welcome a close reading in a way that almost seems to mirror the effect of reading a music manuscript. The shifts, the changes in tonality, the markings of paint and the scratching of the drawing ultimately sound to the eye in an endlessly rich and satisfying manner. As with a particularly seductive piece of music one leaves the painting reluctantly but with passages of the work embedded and echoing in one’s visual memory.
For a very long time Everett has been an abstract artist and whether it be in painting or sculpture there always appear to be indirect references to naturalistic forms, shapes, beings, which settle comfortably into the abstract environment that she creates.