Contemporary artist Cathy Read creates urban landscape paintings that reflect city life in all it’s glory. Born in Middleton, Lancashire. As a child, Cathy’s mother took her to Manchester City Art Gallery where the Ford Maddox Brown painting Work inspired a passion to create art. Persuaded to pursue a “Real career” she moved to Oxford and obtain a Diploma in Occupational Therapy.
Cathy used her love of art to develop fine motor skills in children when working as an occupational therapist in Bedford. Subsequently, she had a private OT practice from 1996-2006. Realising the artist dream remained during a career break, she decided to do it now or regret it. Since then, Cathy has tenaciously built her career, learning on the job. Her distinctive style developed from early, predominantly circle based abstracts into urban landscapes, fuelled by a lifelong interest in buildings and rooted in a childhood dominated by the giant cotton mills of Middleton.
Cathy looks for perspectives that capture a childlike sense of wonder at looming buildings, which tower overhead; and a fascination with everyday features that we take for granted, such as drains, keyholes and railings. Her figures, when present, merge with the built environment they inhabit, becoming a permanent feature that remains long after the people have moved on. Like ghosts or spirits, their essence is captured and kept alive in a vibrant landscape. Forever an anonymous part of the narrative of that day.
Cathy exhibits around the UK, Europe, and is collected as far afield as Canada, Africa, and New Zealand. In 2021 she was selected for the 20th International Art Exchange Exhibition in Chiba, Japan. Cathy regularly exhibits with the Society of Women Artists in London, being awarded the Barbara Tate Memorial Award in 2015. Her work is in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and various corporate collections. She appeared on Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
Cathy lives in a chapel near Buckingham, which she converted with her husband. It is close enough to London to get an Urban Architecture fix when needed. Cathy splatters paint and sings loudly in her Buckinghamshire Studio, when not steering a canal boat along the British waterways and wielding a windlass.
Drawing with masking fluid, Cathy reflects the city in all its glory. From ground breaking designs of cutting edge architecture, to the decaying remnants of a glorious past – these are lovingly embraced in her watercolour and acrylic ink paintings. Using the media’s vibrant colours, Cathy conveys the mundane and ordinary beside the glorious and spectacular.
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