Peripheral ARTeries meets
Catherine Eaton Skinner Catherine Eaton Skinner grew up in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by the fresh and salt waters, majestic mountains, and old growth forests. She received her BA in Biology from Stanford University while simultaneously studying painting with Bay Area Figurative painters Nathan Oliveira and Frank Lobdell. Working 20 years as a biological illustrator, Skinner specialized in the ecological integration of marine invertebrates and algae of the Pacific Coast. She presently divides her time between her studios in Seattle and Santa Fe, working as a multidisciplinary artist: painting, encaustic, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Skinner’s work has a depth of layers that matches her need to allow a work be beautiful, as well as spiritual. She moves from the simplicity of tantric forms to the complications of grids and multiplicity. Birds move amongst her trees that stretch tall, marking the energy between sky and earth. The five elements – earth, fire, water, air and space - come into play in the actual physicality of her media: beeswax, resin, and oil; stones and metals; lead sheeting, precious metals; cast glass and bronze; textiles and natural dyes; collected old book pages and handmade Himalayan papers. Skinner’s series give expression to her journeys through many cultures over the years. From ancient time forward, people have journeyed to sacred places; Skinner writes, "We live in a world where it may be difficult to feel a part of the whole, but we continue trying to find ways to connect to place and to each other. By leaving offerings of our own, we connect not only with those who have come before us, but also to those pilgrims yet to come." Skinner’s monograph, 108, published by Radius Books of Santa Fe, New Mexico, features twelve years of her work in which she pursued a deep investigation of this symbolic sacred number, using repetition in multiple explorations. Her artwork is also included in Art of Discovery, Exploring a Northwest Art Collection, the cover art of Others Will Enter the Gates, and Speak For the Trees. Unleashed, published by the University of Washington Press in conjunction with the Woodland Park Zoo, portrays her passion for animals of this world and her relationship amongst them. Skinner has had 35 solo exhibitions. Her work has been in numerous group exhibitions in museum and galleries and is placed in multiple private collections. She is currently represented at the Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art in Seattle, Washington; Waterworks Gallery in Friday Harbor, Washington; Art Terra in Bellevue, Washington; and Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California. Public collections include The University of Washington's Henry Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Swedish Orthopedic Hospital, and the Seattle University’s Seeds of Compassion Collection. Skinner has been working with encaustic media and oil on panel for over 20 years. Encaustic is derived from the ancient Greek word encaustikos, meaning “to burn.” Molten beeswax is applied with a brush, and layers of colored wax and oil sticks added and fused in multiple layers, intensifying the color and depth of the work. The layers of wax may be transparent or opaque, scraped, incised or built up like sculptural relief. The durability of encaustic is due to the addition of damar resin, making it impervious to moisture, yellowing and darkening. When buffed and cleaned with a soft cloth, encaustic waxes look much like glazed tiles.
An interview by Matthew Anderson, curator and Katherine Williams, curator
Skinner kindly took some time this week to discuss her art and her creative process, and we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her unique
Seattle and Santa Fe artist Catherine Eaton