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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The stainless steel art of Catherine Thornton

This past Friday afternoon, while we were at Artspace in downtown Raleigh waiting for me to give my presentation about my copyright fight with Viacom as part of SPARKcon, a friend and I spent about an hour walking through the gallery and taking in the fantabulous artwork: some very neat stuff in there and some things were... rather offbeat, to put it mildly.

But there was one piece on display that grabbed hold of my senses more than anything else, because I had never seen something like this before. It was a "painting" made by grinding on a sheet of stainless steel:

Now ain't that cool?!?

Well, it so happened that the artist responsible for this eye-arresting image was on the gallery's premises and at work in a small studio down the hall. Her name is Catherine Thornton, and I was most delighted to meet a lady blessed with not only artistic vision but original techniques and concepts. As it turns out she has done several works in stainless steel, using various grinders and sanders to etch patterns and shapes into metal as another artist might use a paintbrush on canvas. But as Thornton was sure to note, the advantage of her medium is that it will last indefinitely with no fading away of pigment or deterioration of the surface.

Truthfully folks, the photos that I shot do not do justice to Thornton's work. They have to be seen in person and up close to best appreciate. As one who works in metal also from time to time, I thought it was one of the most creative use of steel so far as artistic handiwork goes. If you possibly can, I would heartily recommend a visit to Artspace at 201 E. Davie Street in Raleigh to check it out for yourselves. And Catherine Thornton also maintains a website devoted to her work and artistic philosophy.