Cathy Carey / SELECTED ARTWORK / BIOGRAPHY / ARTIST STATEMENT / INTERVIEW / PAST EXHIBITIONS
Cathy Carey - Biography
Cathy Carey’s paintings express an essential connection of all things through a joyous spirit. As an accomplished oil painter, Carey works in a unique version of a contemporary color expressionist style. She tells her stories of exhilarating joy using gestural brush strokes, vivid color and rhythmic compositions.
Originally from Virginia, Carey spent most of her childhood outdoors. From a young age Carey painted and drew images from her imagination and illustrated stories that she wrote. In pursuit of that training, Carey attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and then received a BFA in Painting and Print Making from Virginia Commonwealth University. In that same freshman class, Carey did a Blind Contour of a model that made such an impression on her, that she continues using blind contour today as a basis for her paintings. After graduating from VCU, Carey realized she would need to do something to make a living, so she began a complementary artistic career in the design and printing industries. After working at a silk-screen factory, a printing company, a large advertising agency and Circuit City as a graphic designer and illustrator, she moved to California to work as an Art Director for a newspaper group. From working on fast-food banners at the silk-screen company, Cathy learned how to work on large-scale canvases. At the printing company she honed her skills with a large-format camera and became expert at unusual cropping and composition. While at the advertising agency and Circuit City she came up with ways to generate ideas quickly and developed a great skill at pen-and-ink illustrations. All her lessons and skills came to fruition at the newspaper where she learned to deliver a creative idea on a deadline and hold a fast-paced work ethic.
One of the things that sets Cathy apart from other artists is her intense drive for accomplishment, quick thinking and problem solving, and her limitless imagination. Carey was at the beginning of the desk-top publishing era, and started her own design studio, Elements Graphic Design, where those qualities served her well over the next twenty years. Also during this time she was painting, entering shows and teaching painting classes at night through Adult Education programs. While that sounds like a lot to keep anyone busy, it is particularly astonishing when some other parts of Cathy Carey’s background are factored in. When she was ten years old she was badly injured in a car accident and has total amnesia about the event. The right side of her face was crushed and had to be repaired through many years of reconstructive surgeries. To say this affected her childhood is obvious, but the direction in which it took her life is quite amazing. From that experience, Cathy learned many years later, she suffered recurring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the severe brain trauma. This contributed to an autoimmune condition that eventually kept Carey from working outside the home. This would stop a lot of people in their tracks, but Carey immediately went out and purchased a computer on her credit card and became self-employed, starting
Elements Graphic Design.
Always working in the art world, today Carey devotes all her time to being a professional fine artist. While busy, the life she has created is enviable. She and her husband travel to places she wants to paint, and she takes photos, does sketches and maintains journals of her experiences and impressions, which she turns into new series of paintings back home in her studio. One of her journeys was to Monet’s garden in Giverny. When Carey returned from Giverny, she decided to recreate an artists’ garden like Monet had done, a place where she could design gardens to paint and share the environment with other artists. She and her husband, Brian Sinofsky, bought a house in Escondido with room for a half-acre garden on top of one of the highest hills, with incredible views all around. Many of Carey’s paintings draw inspiration from her whimsical succulent garden, where a family of coyotes roams, and quail, owls and all sorts of fascinating creatures live.
Carey has a dedicated work ethic. An inquisitive inclination and creative drive has always been a part of Carey’s life. Carey’s paintings take place in an alternate reality. She heightens color, dramatizes, blows some things all out of proportion and minimizes other details in order to create a mood. She describes her paintings as images from a beautiful experience that is now gone, and all that remains is the memory. She rarely paints finished paintings on location, but acquires impressions and feelings at the place through sketches or plein-air pieces and allows the rest of the details to percolate into memory. One of Carey’s passions is helping animals of all kinds. Twice yearly she opens her studio and garden for tours that benefit the San Diego Humane Society and Project Wildlife. Carey has developed a unique style, using techniques she’s mastered over many years.
Carey has been inspired by several major artists, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Gustov Klimt. From studying Monet’s work, she learned about color theory and composition, and how to use broken brush strokes to create a lacy structure for under-layers to show through. Van Gogh’s influence taught her how to use gestural brush strokes to energize and activate her paintings to feel like the movement of life. Looking at Matisse and researching him, she learned how to manipulate the idea of space on the illusion of a flat surface, and alternate between decorative surface color and atmospheric perspective to create depth. Varying between these two types of surface treatments creates a “push-pull” of space, which she also learned from her teachers at VCU, who were Abstract Expressionists. The exciting use of gold employed by Klimt inspired her to use gold as an under-painted first layer in all her paintings. There is a rhythmic movement in Carey’s paintings that she attributes to one of her favorite pastimes, swing dancing. For Cathy Carey, art is a communication.