Catherine McCaw-Aldworth was born in Darlington 1998 and since has lived all over the UK and Spain. Catherine recently graduated from The University of Creative Arts on BA Fine Art and is currently completing an MA Fine Art at UCA Farnham.
Working in multiple medias, Catherine’s work and practice focuses around the connection between the body and domestic, exploring the relationships our bodies and our discarded materials have within the physical home. She also finds interest in exploring ideas around a metaphorical home, a non-domestic space such as heaven. My work is rooted in a deep curiosity of our dwellings and homes, their appliances, and furniture. There is a certain object-orientated ontology in which we, as humans amongst other objects, can identify and attach to, and it is from this ontological position that I investigate the home. I often make connections to female identity throughout the home, to make sense of the female body's relationship to the domestic space. My current practice produces sculpture and installation but also features photography and video in certain areas. The materials are always unpredictable, it can be all smooth sailing, and the next minute materials temperamental and mischievous; nothing will go my way. It keeps me in a constant challenge, work can never be exactly replicated or refabricated. Using these unpredictable materials where an element of failure is almost always present shows the decomposition and impermanence of the work, much like the impermanence of our own materiality. It also brings forth ideas of play and often evokes memories from childhood, sometimes using overwhelming sensory elements such as smell, touch, and taste with the intention to trigger nostalgia and to allow the viewer to connect to the work, through sense memory and personal experience.
'The Birth of a Parasite'
A response to ‘The Birth of Venus’, exploring ideas around femininity, organic materials and discarded body this piece is extremely intimate and personal. The birth of a Pearl starts as an irritant working it’s way into a shell and then latching on and growing, almost attacking the shell. The shell defends itself by secreting liquids that encompass the irritant and layer by layer they add up to a beautiful shiny Pearl. It seems quite ironic that a Pearl is something so precious that is often directed at the feminine. It made me think of the birth of a body, latching on in the mother’s womb, until it is pushed out as a beautiful and priceless baby. Both take their toll on the vessel which birthed it. Whilst both of these objects (the body and the Pearl) defy their average borders and the typical norm in size, they cross over into the realms of beauty and questioning what it is to be feminine. When showing this piece to someone they said it suggested fragility, softness, vulnerability. All of these are psychological traits attached to the colour pink in colour theory. Perhaps these notions are not tied to the female body but to the gender rules we have placed within object and colour. This crossover of birthing that we see in the painting by Botticelli has always been fascinating to me. I felt that the recreation of the painting had been done so much before but I didn’t want to let the inspiration fall away and so this is my response. Not a recreation but perhaps a part 2 in modern day. The body that cradles the Pearl. The feminine beauties that go beyond normal standards. The Birth of a Parasite.
'Pull the Plug'
This piece is a conversation of our bodies and discarded materials that make their way into the ocean. A tale of pollution and mirrored domesticity. The phrase ‘Pull the Plug’ means to stop something from happening, allowing something to escape or fall through. A plug inside the sink gathers all the food debris so it doesn’t clog the drain. A plug in the bath allows the water to fill up so we can wash ourselves, it harbours our discarded cells of the body. A plug is the opening between the domestic space and the systems below that transport our discarded materials to other spaces, often back to the ocean. Of course, the contaminated water remnants from the drains are treated first but tiny particles of ourselves goes through all the systems and filters to end up in the grander scheme of the world, in this ocean, just floating around waiting. This piece of an extra-large plug thinks about the larger discarded parts of our bodies especially in COVID-19 times but also what’s clogged up inside and where we end up in the grander scheme of the world.
This piece being a video of the plug at the beach, waves approaching it but with the added sounds of the domestic bathtub plug draining. The gurgling and swishing sounds of the water draining out of the tub create a conversation with the waves and they speak to each other in chaos but also in harmony.