Catherine Street is an artist whose work consists of layers of experience. In installations her body is often present amongst projections and audio works, drawings and texts, creating an atmosphere that may be sensual, comical, disturbing. Staccato configurations of sound and light create an intensely sensory experience, whilst at the same time the viewer is invited to contemplate the ambiguously layered content of text and speech works. Intense breathing sounds give the viewer the feeling of moving inside the body’s cavities, whilst writings often describe breaking apart the flesh and returning it to its constituent elements. Meditative, precisely spoken audio recordings include vivid evocations of physical sensations, alongside speculations on the artist’s role and motivations. Rigorously performed actions are documented, and at the same time hints of vulnerability or playfulness appear in handwritten notes.
Street pays particular attention to themes of transformation and to the relationship between matter, thought, emotion and sensation. She focuses on bodily experience – the experience of interaction with, on the one hand physical objects and substances, and on the other hand meaning: whether social, political, sexual, spiritual.
Recent projects include the solo exhibition Muscle Theory at Glasgow’s Reid Gallery, which incorporated video and sound installation, drawing and live performance, and a series of performative tours for the Edinburgh Art Festival; The Book of Money, The Book of Breath & Sound and the Book of Shock. Street has worked with some of Scotland’s major institutions such as CCA Glasgow, GoMA, DCA, The National Galleries of Scotland, and undertaken a number of residencies for example at Hospitalfield and SSW. She has also performed and exhibited further afield for example in Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, New Zealand and USA. Her writing has been published in various editions including The Burning Sand and Queer Information, the Modern Edinburgh Film School Anthology. A significant part of her practice is dedicated to creative writing, especially through her ongoing collaboration with the poet JL Williams, with whom she has worked since 2012.
photo above: Reading with JL Williams at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh for closing event of British Art Show 8, photo by Stuart Fallon