Effigies of the fragile
Bronze sculptures and drawings: 1994-2018
“The indescribable elusiveness of the soul is what Catling is after in his handmade works, whose physical features appear worn and weathered, their details and particulars ground down to the essentials: the most basic stuff of life.”
- Los Angeles Art Critic-David Pagel
This group of sculptures and drawings are informed by many decades in the studio dealing with the tension between strength and vulnerability. The works reflect a way of seeing and are made in a direct association with the artist’s awareness of the physical and the ephemeral nature of life. The figures are designed to be symbolic of an internal journey, revealing both a powerful way of existing and the inevitable reality of suffering.
The figures have a rough, textured surface, inspired by the natural world of tree branches, rock and earthen formations. The usage and reference of natural materials reinforces a connection to the earth as a source of life and a place of human interaction, as well as the inference of flight which transcends the earth and the limitations of the body.
It is within these complex relationships that create the setting for a beautiful and dynamic unfolding of life: the space between being earthbound and the freedom to soar. There is a beautiful sense of place where there is peace within the fragility of life.
The work is designed to project an ancient connection to humanity's need of an internal search for meaning. To raise conscious awareness above the surrounding distractions of life and engage deeply with the reality of the natural, the symbolic and the spiritual world.
This group of sculptures and drawings specifically engage in a long inner dialogue the artist has regarding the dilemma of “falling upwards” as life’s true reality. The works explore aspects of ascending and descending, open and closed, natural and shaped, as well as a contemplative silence that comes from “hovering” in place.
The art works are connected to larger concerns of the world and its rhythms, seasons, time and discovering an inner soul scape that is both grounded and ascending, combining transcendence and deep thinking. The figures exist as pieces of this complex visual exploration of movement and the embrace of inner stillness.