10 – 26 February 2022
about the exhibition
Cathy Franzi is engaged with observation of nature and the environment. Through the materiality of ceramics and its possibilities for form, technique, surface imagery and installation, she explores ways to express cultural values attributed to Australian plants. Her work is underpinned by research in the botanical sciences, natural history collections and fieldwork on location. In this new body of work, Cathy turns her attention to the flora found in the alpine peaks of Kosciuszko National Park – the high country. This is a weathered landscape, Cathy explains, defined by grey granite outcrops, where ‘snow melt trickles into deeply trenched streams and plants exist in niche environments from wind-exposed ridges, snow patch feldmark, tall alpine herbfields to bogs and fens’. Cathy now uses three techniques to create surface imagery that each reflect the individuality of the plants of this delicate ecosystem: stencil, inlay and sgraffito. Initially trained in science, Cathy’s love of the natural world is exemplified by the detailed approach she takes to her work and the extraordinary attention she pays to the rendering of each plant.
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 learning the craft in New Zealand and then working as a production thrower in a large pottery in Adelaide. 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 in ceramics 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 and Manly Art Gallery & Museum.