March 8, 2018
Cathy Hegman, an artist who lives on a farm in Mississippi, has established a reputation for creating thought provoking and emotionally evocative paintings inspired by the natural world. Since women, animals and the landscape are her preferred subject matter; her imagery is both familiar and comforting. However, because the women and animals are inwardly rather than outwardly focused and the landscapes are fragmented with very little detail; the paintings take on a mysterious, otherworldly quality. This is enhanced by the use of muted colors, surfaces that are alternately worn down and built up and by shrouding everything in an atmospheric haze, suggesting the passage of time even though we are actually just experiencing a single moment in the story.
One of the most intriguing things about Cathy Hegman’s paintings is how they seem to go in various directions at the same time. On the one hand the figures and animals are intimately connected; on the other they appear almost oblivious to the outer world; then alternately they seem to exude some authority over it. This leaves us wondering what is real and what is imagined, and what is in the past and what is actually supposed to be in the present. Cathy partially explains this when she says that she relives past feelings as she paints and the canvases serve as a mirror for her to see herself. The paintings also serve as mirrors for us to see ourselves and, because we cannot help but respond emotionally, they allow us to interact with situations and experience feelings that might otherwise be too uncomfortable to approach directly.
Looking at these painting we are quickly aware that Cathy has great empathy for people and animals, and that she portrays them as deeply connected and on a shared journey. This has symbolical importance and she says: “My most prevalent and personal symbols are animals and because I feel I have learned so much from them they represent protection, love, companionship, trust, loyalty and serenity.” There are also other symbols in her work, notably the circle which she uses to represent wholeness, perfection, eternity, timelessness, the Self and God and by placing a figure or animal on it, this symbolizes both wholeness and balance.
One of the great things about paint is the way it allows an artist to create layered imagery and atmosphere and to use marks and surface to represent thoughts, feelings, and the passage of time. It is to this end that some of what we see in a Cathy Hegman painting has been actively reworked. In fact she sometimes paints a figure as many as twenty times in order to arrive at a sense of authority. More importantly, this is what gives her art its sincerity.
TEW Galleries has represented Cathy Hegman since 2012 and we are pleased to present her first solo show with us in almost three years.
- Timothy Tew