The body of work that I have been developing over the course of the last two years represents a fairly drastic departure in content from an extensive previous investigation in contemporary portraiture. For most of my life as a painter and visual artist I have been concerned with explorations in a more literal kind of figurative work, where I sought to create heavily stylized portraits of contemporary youth, examining the politics and construction of cultural identities and Hip Hop culture, while referencing an aesthetic sensibilities found in Classical European portraiture, Japanese contemporary art, graphic design and illustration. I was drawn, and still am, to the idea of contemporary portraiture as capturing and hence representing an era as both a critique and a celebration. Within my portrait studies I would construct the figure by way of using line and a layering of hard-edged shards of colour to build form. I am intrinsically drawn to colour, repetition, a design-aesthetic, clean hard edged form and playing with notions of Minimalism and Maximalism simultaneously.
The most recent body of work consists of fairly large- scale abstract geometric pieces on stained wood panel. Despite the fact that I'm no longer exploring figuration I have continued to employ a similar palette and overall aesthetic sensibility. I have continually referenced architecture and design, Austrian Expressionism and the Decorative arts, graffiti and street art, contemporary illustration and screen- printing, Hip Hop culture, Post Colonialism, Minimalist sculpture and Colour Field painting, to name a few. These pieces represent formal investigations in space, light, depth and movement and I'm exploring ways to work with the organic material of wood and the softness of its natural grain, juxtaposed with bold, geometric shards of colour. I am trying to capture a sense of movement and softness within a static medium and hard-edged form. I am interested in making contemporary pieces that subtly reference sometimes seemingly disparate notions in art and design history and that possess a complex beauty as a result.download Catto's CV