Reviews (for more about Cathy Breslaw, see "Essays")
"The lasting impression is the ethereal and luminous effects of throwaway materials that channel the spirit of assemblage art." Liz Goldner, Art Writer, Art Scene, Los Angeles, 2012
"Her recent works reveal an absorption with material that typically is found in the interstices of daily life, or those throwaway things that hang out at the periphery of our attention....." "Silver tendrils spiral playfully on the gallery floor and a gossamer, postindustrial canopy floats overhead." Kat Murrell, Art Writer, Express Milwaukee.com, Milwaukee, WI, 2012
"In today’s currency-obsessed culture, commerce and artistic integrity are constantly at odds with each other. “Selling out,” “conflict of interest,” “transparency” and other capitalism-tinged catch words course through the art establishment, both as ethical concerns and content for artwork. As a result, the tangible qualities of commercial products often get overlooked in favor of their political connotations. Not so in Cathy Breslaw’s work. Breslaw takes the tactile trappings of the commercial world at face value, revealing ethereal and organic traits even in the most unspectacular, mass-produced materials.
Industrial mesh acts as surface, texture and pigment in Breslaw’s recent wall works and installations. The mesh—a material often used for sifting, screening, lining, or fencing—always maintains a trace of its functionality. In Weightless, black abstract forms suspend in mid-air, their no-nonsense simplicity enhancing the effect of the bodily shadows they cast on the wall behind them. In Taking Flight, the unencumbered, multi-colored mesh recalls billowing tissue. Ebb and Flow, a luxurious green and orange wall work, twists, turns and folds in on itself as it if were the accidental masterpiece of an indecisive dress-maker.
Nearly all of Breslaw’s sculptural works draw inspiration from playful, abstract drawings. The drawings, created on transparent paper, plastic or mesh, are sometimes embellished with thread or beading. They fixate on space and movement, imagining the world as one fluid web of interactions. In the process of transforming these two-dimensional sketches into three-dimensional forms, Breslaw switches her emphasis from movement to weightlessness and, as her work becomes more physical, it also becomes more ephemeral. Despite the mesh’s commercial connotations, its transparent lightness allows it to levitate in an uncanny gap between object-hood and airiness.
Breslaw is not the first to push at the boundaries of traditional space. Donald Judd once called Yves Klein an “unspatial” artist and others, like Frank Stella and Morris Louis, spent their careers bucking the spatial confines of the picture plane. But Breslaw’s aspirations are more down-to-earth than those of artists who inaugurated color-field painting and celebrated minimalism. For her, the point of transcending conventional space is to seamlessly interact with the fluctuating world in which we live." Catherine Wagley, Art Writer,2010 Los Angeles, CA
“As an artist, Cathy has a knack for finding, in the dumbest, unlovliest stuff, surprising beauty. She is also able to transform overlooked items (like the synthetic nets that wrapped lemons and potatoes at the supermarket) into works that say a lot about everyday life in the global world. Either task would have been sufficient. Together they add up to visual poetry that enriches and inspires.” David Pagel, Los Angeles Times Art Critic, 2008 Chair, School of Visual Art, Claremont Graduate University
“In her exhibition, “Color and Light”, Cathy Breslaw takes a mundane material, and through layering, transforms it into something truly imaginative and beautiful, subtly touching on the concepts of globalization and femininity along the way. “ Katie Scarvey, Lifestyle Editor 2008
“Breslaw’s use of industrial fiber is intended as a statement about wastefulness and global connectedness. …its use as works of art is ecologically responsible; but Breslaw’s fusion of painting, weaving and sculpture is first and foremost breathtakingly beautiful. While she layers transparent mesh in subtle combinations that seem to glow, her sense of color is exquisite.” ….opaque bars and spikes (of color) creates piquant visual rhythms”. “She has pushed beyond traditional techniques to reveal the latent beauty in an aesthetically unpromising material, creating works that are deeply resonant...An art critic once said ‘Art doesn’t have to do anything except convince you that it is art’. For me, Breslaw’s gossamer creations are convincing.” Susanne Forestieri, Art Writer, Las Vegas Weekly, 2009
“Breslaw’s work appears to float gracefully on the gallery walls and also emerges as organic elements from the floor. Her work purposefully enters the viewer’s space to encourage us to explore experiences from multiple perspectives.” Elizabeth B. Reese, PhD., Art and Museum Consultant, Visiting Professor and Director of university galleries at Texas A&M University.
“In transluscent wall works, California artist Cathy Breslaw layers various manufacturerd materials to echo globalization and the shrinking of what used to be a “big” world.” Richard O. Jones, Staff Writer, Journal News, Cincinnati, 2008
“Cathy Breslaw’s floor sculptures build solid forms out of layers of transluscent, delicate cloth, forming romantic, breezy objects that captivate with their unwieldy prettiness.” Shana Nys Dambrot, Art Writer, Los Angeles, 2007
“Mesh and wire harmoniously form elusive tapestries of light and colors in the Stevenson Gallery, University of Oregon.” Baptiste Becquart, The Siskiyou, 2009
“California based Breslaw adapts pieces of industrial mesh in her abstract wall pieces, which provide ample opportunities for bringing out the material’s sculptural and tonal qualities. The result is alluring, and invites viewers to consider the interplay of color, pattern and form.” Jonathan Marx, Staff Writer, Tennessean, 2008
“Cathy Breslaw’s art is made of industrial mesh and wire…you’ll certainly forget once you lay eyes on the finely crafted work of this California based artist, as her suspended sculptures and floor pieces have about them a delicate, elusive, diaphanous beauty that handily belies their mundane materials. “ Andrew Kiraly, Writer, City Life, Las Vegas, 2009
“..certainly not the ordinary paint and canvas. Yet the results are as compelling as any other expression in more common materials. When properly lighted, the color variations throughout the material can shimmer and radiate with a life all their own. These ordinary substances now transcend their original commercial purpose in favor of something new that takes on a nearly spiritual aspect.” George Palovich, Assistant Curator, West Vallery Art Museum, Independent Newspapers, 2009
“Close contemplation of Breslaw’s art pieces reveal sophisticated mastery of materials. Weaving and manipulation become painterly in her hands and works have somewhat a meditative effect with subtle illusions to globalization.” Daniella Walsh, Art Writer, The Orange County Register, 2006
“Breslaw’s work at first glance reflects fiber art we ‘re accustomed to seeing in galleries, however upon closer examination, the dissimilarity of materials and what has been done to them, obviously separates her work from that traditional genre.” Jon Cummins, Gallery Director, Chico Art Center, CA 2009
“Even though they couldn’t be further from traditional oils on canvas, Breslaw’s wall-hung compositions function like paintings. In fact, her airy, loosely formed vertical striations on “Sounds of Color” recall the color field paintings of American painter Morris Louis. …..His peripheral ghosting effects (in Morris’s paintings) is what Breslaw’s entire work achieves, enabled by the use of the see-through mesh. Breslaw’s black wire mesh sculptures channel the feminine quality seen frequently in prominent abstract sculptor Louise Bourgeois’ work without the heft or her frequent allusions to violence. Instead Breslaw’s works evoke the weightless quality of everything from birds in flight to clouds to kites. Air is much more a part of the form here than the material that shapes it, amplifying the delicacy of the object even when its chief component is, indeed, an industrial-caliber material.” Erika Pope, Freelance Art Reviewer, NPR Radio, Las Vegas, 2009
“California artist Cathy Breslaw uses plastic mesh and wire to create airy works – each is a beautiful celebration of texture and light.” Jeannie Lancaster, Arts writer, Reporterherald.com, Ft. Collins, CO, 2009