“Not all wanderers are merchandise.”
From the series “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien, a quote is made in the exhibition of artist Austin Cathy of the same name – “Not everyone who wanders is lost.”
The exhibition included 14 pieces of Kathy’s work – large abstract works of mixed media on paper and canvas – and were shown at Inno Mail this month.
“Not Everyone Lost Is Lost” is also a homage to the exhibition he was unable to hold in his graduation thesis.
Kathy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting from the University of Miami in Ohio. The exhibition features two pieces that Cathy began working on while at UNC-Asheville.
He said, “Only ‘Among the Exile’ was shown at that time.” However, “Not All Are Lost Drifters” has been shown elsewhere, and most of the artwork is on display for the first time. “
Cathey is now based in Carrboro, has a studio at Eno Arts Mill and operates a gallery and gift shop for Hillsborough Arts Council.
He said that he loves abstract expressionism and all kinds of romantic landscape painting.
“For me, it’s more important to give viewers more questions than answers,” Cathy said. “I have a growing full list of the tremendous artists I have been influenced by, and some of the main inspirations for this exhibition have been maps, sea charts, terrain, memory, images of the universe and the way light hits the clouds.”
Cathy said that visual art gives people a way to ask questions and communicate in a bewildering world.
“As far as we know, as long as there have been humans, there has been art. Art keeps us in touch with our past and history, while at the same time allowing us to forge new paths to new heights.”
While at school, Cathy said he had a passion for scribbling and was inspired by video games and graphic novels. He said it was important for artists to refer to other cultural phenomena, such as the phrase “not everyone who wonders is lost.”
Cathy has also said that he views art as a way to understand what it means to be human.
“There are thoughts, ideas, and feelings that go beyond words,” he said. “A person can argue that before we give our thoughts shape in language, we see and experience.”
Kathy Murray, director of the Orange County Commission on the Arts, said Kathy’s work can stand on its own and is inspiring.
“When you see the work in person, you can just stand there and stare at one piece for an hour and keep seeing different things,” she said. “There’s a lot of movement and texture and I keep telling everyone they need to see it in person because screens don’t do it fair.”
Cathy’s art has appeared in other galleries in the past, including The Frank Gallery at Chapel Hill.
“Everyone was excited to see the progress of Austin’s work,” said Frank’s gallery director Natalie Knox. “We look forward to seeing what he continues to create in the future.”
More information about upcoming arts-related events and performances can be found at Orange County Commission on the Arts website.
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