29 August – 15 September 2019
about the exhibition
Cathy Franzi is a visual artist engaged with ideas of nature and the environment. Through the materiality of ceramics and its possibilities for form, surface imagery and installation, she explores ways to express cultural values attributed to Australian plants, including scientific ones. Her work is underpinned by research in the botanical sciences, natural history collections and fieldwork on location. For her second solo exhibition at Beaver Galleries Cathy was inspired by the hills and mountains of Canberra. Cathy chose seven peaks from which a view of Lake Burley Griffin is visible with the aim to highlight particular native plants that grow upon them. “In this way I celebrate the natural beauty of this region and acknowledge the rich diversity of habitats to be found here….The environment and character of each mountain is captured in its flora. Standing on a summit I might be surrounded by granite slabs, Grevillea oxyantha flourishing at high elevation in rock crevices. Another summit might offer a Drooping Sheoak forest, its foliage whispering in the breeze. Initially trained in science, her love of the natural world is exemplified by the botanical approach she takes to her work. Cathy adapts relief print making methods to her ceramics and makes her own tools to apply these techniques to a ceramic surface. Using a textural approach, she makes representative marks by carving through colour on the surface while responding to the form of each vessel she constructs on the wheel.
Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney in 1985. Her interest in ceramics was formed during her early high school years and was revived after time spent working as a production thrower in a large pottery in New Zealand. In 2010, she completed her Masters of Visual Arts in the Ceramics Workshop at the Australian National University School of Art, then continued her studies there and was awarded a PhD in 2015. Cathy has undertaken several residencies over the years including at the Research School of Biology, Australian National University and the Bundanon Trust in 2016. She has won numerous awards including most recently the 2018 Ignition Award for Ceramic Excellence. In 2017, she was awarded a highly commended in the Clunes Ceramic Award and was a finalist and people’s choice winner in the Klytie Pate Ceramics Award. Cathy has worked as a teacher and lecturer of ceramics over her career and is the current president of the Australian Ceramics Association. Her work is held in collections including the Canberra Museum and Gallery, ACT Legislative Assembly, Parliament House Art Collection and Manly Art Gallery & Museum.