9 Spaces: The Abyss of Deep Time

A solo exhibition by Cathy Abraham.

Embodying memory through spatial and temporal constructs such as life and death, and all that exists in between, Cathy Abraham’s practice is drawn out of the dichotomies of anguish and exhilaration; particularly as her work speaks to the spectrum upon which all existential inquiry finally state their case. Namely, the point that eventually determines the discreet contrast that separates the flow of experiences from each other. If the space between such moments could be visually articulated, what would they look like? This is the sense one assumes when viewing Abraham’s extensive works – that the cohesion of her artistic practice is that it is a deepl personal and revelatory process for herself, first and foremost, with the beneficial outcome being exceptional works tied together in narratively driven, living stories of her own life. What makes art such an insatiable quest for humankind is that we may only hold a limited range of referential or “inspirational” junctures to draw on for the sake of one’s practice; the range of human experience perhaps, and anything we might be able to imagine, yet none and nothing will ever be like another; for underpinning every artist’s pursuit and practice is the energetic blueprint of their own essence – an essence as unique as the fingerprints that assist in casting the first brushstroke upon the canvas. In this respect, Abraham’s development as an artist is rare and vulnerable insight into the ways in which the Self – the essence – can be yielded to make manifest a reflection of itself through the artistic process.

Having graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town in 2016, Abraha would go onto receive her Masters in Fine Art in 2018; achieving with Distinction respectively. What distinguishes this success is that Abraham returned to academia after being a portfolio and process teacher for art students in the early 2000s. So much of our conceptual framework around education rest in one’s formative years, yet Abraham embodies the incredible thirst for knowledge that remains throughout life – conveying that there is no sequential predication in which one must follow ones practice. It is interesting to note that Abraham’s development as an artist is thus deeply reflected in her works – her MFA solo exhibition titled, A Deeper Kind of Nothing springs to mind, in which Abraham’s draws on her formative experiences as a means to interrogate that “nothing” or the idea of “no-thing” is inherently indicative of something; thus rendering the description of “nothing” as reductive at best, and even more non-existent as anything at all.

(Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.)


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