Catherine Repko: Sisters

Catherine Repko

Artwork’s Title: The Sisters, 2019

Materials Used: Oil on canvas

Studio Based: London, Royal College of Art

Catherine Repko, Sisters, Oil on canvas, 180 x 120 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Recently, since starting the MA at RCA in September, I’ve been trying to really work through some new ideas I’ve wanted to get out on canvas for some time. These most recent figurative paintings have been a new challenge! I start with an initial sketch on canvas of the ‘image’ I wanted to paint but then slowly each limb, each shape, or section of colour has been laid down and been scraped away, added onto, covered over, erased again, over and over until something sits right and or speaks to the other parts around it. It’s like a puzzle, and it’s been quite slow to reveal itself. The Sisters particularly has so many layers of painting beneath what you see on the surface now, but that has been an important process and adds something for me to the final outcome. Now I’m excited to move on to the next ones with what I’ve learned from it. The still lives I’ve been working on simultaneously have been allowing me to work a bit faster, instinctively, focusing on colour, texture and composition.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Seeking, seeking, seeking.

Would you use another three different words to describe the ‘Sisters’ painting?

Sisters, space, searching.

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?

I have three sisters, and the four of us are extremely close. This painting is based off of our relationship and growing older together. I’m really interested in the space between us and what connects us as now as adults, how we support each other and what these female relationships mean to me as a woman now. I’m searching for something in these paintings – and it’s still on going!

What colour is used the most in this painting?

Prussian Blue probably. Or Titanium?

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

Anywhere with plenty of white space around it… classic answer!

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

To be honest I’m super inspired by my friends and fellow artists on the MA course right now, and especially my studio mates. We are lucky in our studio, we are so supportive of each other, working really hard and enjoying each other’s work as well as company. It’s so helpful to be working in such an exciting environment and to be learning from each other every day and helping each other grown in our practices. I can’t list everyone on the MA course, but you can find them via Instagram account @rca_painting ! My studiomates specifically are Anne Carney Raines, Beth Hadfield, Lucy Whitehead, Ke Zhang and Pamela Bartlett – all emerging artists to watch 🙂 Of course there are so many contemporary artists I take inspiration from! It’s a hard question to pin down 🙂

How do you know when this painting was finished?

I think you just know! It’s usually instinctive. Although having said that… The Sisters I didn’t realise was finished until I saw it mounted on a white wall just before our ‘Work In Progress’ show at the end of January. It kind of surprised me in this case!

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

The studio space is at the Royal College of Art in Battersea, and we are so lucky to have been given a space with nice high ceilings and plenty of natural light – we lucked out! There’s six of us in here so it’s hectic with lots of paint and paintings all over the place, but it’s exciting!

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting?

To be honest I just like it to be left out there for people to take what they do from it – that’s the fun part !

What does your mum think about your art?

Haha! My mom is really supportive. She called one of my paintings ‘groovy’ a few weeks ago which I was pretty happy about!

Which exhibition did you visit last?

There’s been a bunch of great exhibitions on lately, but one highlight was Jockum Nordstrom at David Zwirner that I caught just before Christmas – it was absolutely beautiful. I’d never seen his work in the flesh and it was just breathtaking.

Which are your plans for the near future?

Well, I’m at the beginning of this two year masters programme, so that’s my plan until summer 2021! Lots of time to concentrate and push new ideas and generate new work! Then I just hope to find a studio in London to keep on painting 🙂

Additional Paintings

Held in hands (Repko)
Catherine Repko, Held in Hands, Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm
Kitsilano (Repko)
Catherine Repko, Kitsilano, Oil on canvas, 55 x 45 cm
Kohanza Lake (Repko)
Catherine Repko, Kohanza Lake, Oil on canvas, 55 x 45 cm

©All images are courtesy of the artist

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