Upright Gallery‘s new exhibition O for light is a new collection of painterly text works created during spring and summer 2020 by Edinburgh text artist Catherine Sargeant, based on the changing sky. The title of the exhibition derives from the partially ‘erased’ title of a book that Catherine altered and used to inspire these pieces. The show comprises thirty small paintings depicting the daily April sky, each one highlighting a single word, and summer selection of pages from a 100-day book that she developed into larger paintings, using subtle colour changes and mark-making, through which the wording weaves gently. Describing her process, she says that lacking access to her studio while locked-down in Tillicoultry, she created sketches of the ever-shifting sky, using found materials such as emulsion paint, newspapers and envelopes, making her own rice glue. In addition to depicting the sky, she recorded a few simple comments about her day on the page. She then committed to a 100-day project, Scotland, where she altered a page a day of a textbook by covering it in collage, leaving aspects of the pages’ text uncovered to form a blackout (erasure) poem, reflecting the day’s news, the weather, her mood or something that appealed to her.
A mature graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, and currently a tutor at Leith School of Art, Catherine was the first recipient of WASPS Studios’ New Graduate award, which gave her studio space in Edinburgh’s Patriothall, where she continues to work. All 100 pages of her Scotland project can be found on her Instagram page.
Image: Upright Gallery / Catherine Sargeant