Contributed by Sharon Butler / Recently I was pleased to learn that Winston Wächter Fine Art in Chelsea and Seattle will be representing Catherine Howe, a talented painter I met during Final Crits at the New York Academy of Art in May. At the time, she was in the process of packing up her studio at the Elizabeth Foundation and moving everything into her spacious barn-studio up in Columbia County. I stopped by the farm to congratulate her on her new relationship with WWFA, and was overwhelmed by the property, which features plenty of storage space, room to work on large-scale projects, and a colorful garden full of leafy perennials that Howe has been nurturing for the past fifteen years.
Howe’s paintings are a lively combination of cartoonish floral imagery and Ab-Ex gestural brushwork: Joyce Pensato meets Joan Mitchell. I get the impression that at the beginning of the process, Howe paints like a slightly drunken but righteously inspired sailor, flinging and squeezing pigments around the surface with abandon. But when the paint dries, she attempts to tame the exuberance with a unifying layer of carefully applied metallic leaf. Gilding these intemperate lilies makes them even more eccentric and lovable.