Room Fu Design Blog, 2009

E.A.S.T. the recap, Part 1

“Next up, I was dying to hit Catherine Dudley’s studio (#90) and was slayed to find out that she has her hands in every step of the creative process. She’ll shoot some photography and pull elements out of the photo digitally to create a silkscreen…then she’ll create various screen-printed patterns that she slices and dices for collages. I was already in love with her work and now I’m just in awe of her range of expertise. I know she’s a “real” artist, but I was dying to make wallpaper out of her scraps…”

Stellar-Somerset Gallery “5 New Painters”, 2007

CATHERINE DUDLEY is a Los Angeles based artist working with printed and collaged materials on panel. Both graphic in nature yet speaking of the natural world which has a great similarity to the other artists in this exhibition. Catherine relies on screen printing as the main conveyance of paint, with a variety of papers, punched holes and nails pounded into the surface. In many ways these works are a part of the printmakers craft but as a graphic sign maker might employ. Their is a strength in these works that balances the sensitive placement of things with an almost off hand manner that allows all of the elements to speak in unison keeping the work out of preciousness.

This work is decidedly a directive to landscape but at the same time is part of the European collage tradition. It may be that a whole new group of California landscape art is emerging that is looking for more of balance between the Man made and the natural worlds.

LA Taco, 2006

Some of you know her killer work illustrating for hometown rockers The Brokedown (now known as The Broken West). In her harmonious collages, she makes order out of chaos and like the best music, there’s always a new detail to discover, though the parts–photos, text, found objects, paintings, hardware–form a stunning whole. Read more.

Jordan Mackay, 2003

Good art should always ask questions. But looking at the photo-based art of Catherine Dudley, one wonders what she sees in the world of people. Everywhere in her work are the traces of humanity, but rarely, if ever, is the grand subject approached directly. Of course every representation is to some degree an abstraction. But Catherine seems to take things one step further, making her subject the way humanity abstracts itself. Therefore you see a parade of mannequins, dolls, signs, random objects, things made and arranged by people, but people themselves are notably absent. These artifacts sit in dreamy, nostalgic solitude, solid but curiously ephemeral. She seems to be tracing the very features of what we know to be Los Angeles.

People have said this to me a lot, says Catherine, that my work is very LA. I think that maybe I understand, but my art was like this before moving to Los Angeles. But there really is so much to look at around here. I pull out these elements of the city, things from other cultures, other eras. Catherine’s favored process, the polaroid transfer, seems ideal for capturing the absurd artifacts and artifice of Los Angeles. It takes images of things worn by time and wears them out further. It makes things seem almost weary, ready to sit down and tell you their stories.

What I like about the transfer is that it keeps in the tradition of printmaking, says Catherine, whose artistic foundation lies in printmaking. But it’s also in the realm of photography, therefore instantaneous. The polaroid transfer is thus an intermediary state between photography and printmaking. In capturing images from the world it brings things home and changes them, dulling the colors, removing definition, giving objects a grain, and distorting. Catherine’s world, though, manages to seem elemental in its distortions, human in its inhumanity, absent in its presence. I’m drawn to the objects around us, she says, and I learn about myself from how I see the world. Like Catherine herself, her world seems to be full of humor, stories, and questions. For answers, though, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Jordan Mackay
Austin American Statesman