Catherine Keenan, Seeing Stripes, Belfast Print Workshop, April 2 – May 2 2015


ck-exhibition-1 inst viewShe spent one month working on a series of screenprints as an artist in residence at BPW.



Her rationale :” I am interested in the possibilities of exploring the translucency of colour, possible in printmaking processes.



An element I explore  in my blown glass pieces is the translucent and opaque properties of glass, how colours overlapping create third colour and how opaque colours mask interior colours.

ck-exhibition-red stripes and two glass


I wish to use printmaking to explore my ongoing interest in striped glass.


ck-exhibition-pink twins stripes

Printmaking offers me the possibility of creating editions of work in varying colour combinations and to explore proportions of stripes and simple two dimensional effects that I would then interpret into blown glass.”  ( quoted  in the gallery handout)


ck-exhibition-glass pink purple

I have lost my notes on titles and dimensions. Luckily for me – she names each by list of colours used, i.e. Soft Optic Cylinder, Pink and Pistachio.

ck-exhibition-glass green and yellow

Soft Optic Cylinder, Turquoise and Orange


There was a video – a well made video – showing her at work with hot glass and tools.  Quite fascinating;  she works fast  with an elegant assurance.

Her objects are pleasantly pretty without showing off. Miles away from the aesthetics that governs   Gene  Davies (1920-1985) stripes harvesting strong contrast and  seducing an after image when three reds have pale blue neighbours, for example.  The  just- just perceivable shiver of the stronger hue  has been  central interest of  both impressionism and op- art.


Gene Davies, Apricot ripple. 1968, 1400 – 1031 cm

The rich exploratory systematic paintings by Bridget Riley (b 1931) enchant both with  poetics as well as with sheer power  to forge an illusion of movement, e.g. Horizontal Vibration, 1961,

Bridge Riley Horizontal Vibration 1961

Keenan not only sees stripes, she manufactures thick stripes from glass, before assembling  a glass  ready to be blown.  Her concern about allowing colours to enter various dynamics with one another ( two  overlapping create third…opaque colour masks the colour of the interior of a vessel)  links her art to the assemblages by Thaddeus Wolfe (2014,

Thaddeus Wolfe

Keenan’s method of layering material resonates with Sandra Davolio’s sculptural vessel made from porcelain.(

Sandra Davolio


Ceramicist, painter/glass maker and glass maker/print maker  make objects  traditionally  classed as lesser art, art which in William Morris’ s terms is supportive of good life,  introducing aesthetics that crosses the border to so called disinterested art.  Art objects with a simple function.

Keenan’s art is in a lively young company.

ck-exhibition-multicolour glass

Images from the exhibition courtesy

About Slavka Sverakova

writer on art
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