Magazine article Sculpture

San Antonio

Magazine article Sculpture

San Antonio

Article excerpt

Kate Ritson

Southwest School of Art

Kate Ritson, a professor of art at San Antonio's Trinity University, has unveiled a new body of work after a difficult decade spent caring for aging parents and dealing with her own health issues. There's always been a strong correlation between her body and her art. In the past, she's shown large-scale, totemic wood sculptures, shaped with power tools, chainsaws, and routers out of cedar beams and salvaged railroad timber. Often elaborately carved or branded to create skin-like patterns or tattoos, these elegantly rugged works are usually burned and blackened.

Ritson's recent show, "Corona," featured new, circular forms that not only embraced experimental materials such as carbon fiber, but also brought color into her work for the first time. The fiery red of a hot kiln shines through the flowing patterns incised into Aureole I, made with black carbon fiber, and Aureole II, made with silver carbon fiber. They resemble giant robotic breasts or perhaps enormous vinyl records plucked from an alien starship, though Ritson says that they refer to an oculus or a shield. She began the pattern design with drawings done by hand and then merged them with CAD for cutting the carbon fiber. In creating the designs, she wanted to see how much material she could remove before it collapsed. Her delicate paths for the "tracking" pattern of the CNC router also became the basis for two abstract prints, Nimbus 1 and 2.

"Corona" also included works in wood, but rather than the tall, vertical pieces of the past, these carved forms are round and tend to emphasize fragility. …

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