I visited artist and curator Cathy Sorich at her rented home / studio / storefront in the near west side of Chicago in the TriTaylor neighborhood, considered to be one of the most diverse in the city. After residing in the Switching Station Artist Lofts for nearly two years, Cathy moved to this 700-sf space in October, 2008. Her space is located at the corner of Western and Taylor, where I parked on the street and walked along the ice-covered sidewalk to her front door, which is next to a storefront window displaying some of her art.
Cathy said she has been working day and night on getting the gallery ready for her grand opening in March. Entering the space from the front door on the far east corner, I saw that the room was divided nearly in half -- the side near the door and window was for displaying work, and the other side, for living and working. A small staircase in the live / work area led up to a compact loft bedroom, hidden by a filmy curtain and a row of potted plants. A wall divided the loft and live / work area from a very narrow kitchen and bathroom on the east side of the space. As we talked about the layout, Cathy mentioned that she may install another wall to separate the live / work space from the gallery. In the meantime, she was working on a mural on her kitchen wall.
Cathy had worked in arts administration for a while and wanted to have her own place to work and show as an artist, curate shows, and rent space to artists who wanted to show their work. She calls her space Canito Studio (after her dog) and is open to any type of art except anything depicting misogyny and animal cruelty. Her gallery will be open to the public for certain days starting in March, and is currently open by appointment only.
Cathy's studio practices: "I work as an acrylic and watercolor painter. I seem to really get productive in the evenings and late at night, but I am able to work at any time. I will put the radio on low or listen to a favorite CD. Sometimes if I need to fully concentrate, I will have no sound. I also usually like to keep some sort of studio journal. I never keep any of the writing. I just use it to sort of center or focus my self into the space and work mode. I also like to have my tools organized and ready to go. This is part of my process and can take me a day or two to fully get to the piece, but I consider the cleaning and organizing a part of the process. If I could change anything about my studio, I would make it larger to work out of. The space is inspiring because it is an actual dream come true. I used to visualize what a perfect day was for myself, which included me painting at my own live work space. I have also done a relaxation exercise that includes 'the perfect space' which was always me at an easel painting at my studio. I believe this translates into the feel of the space. There is a certain naturalness and harmony present that I think I brought with me."
"My art is the result of showing up to the canvas to create. The relationship that ensues, artist to canvas / canvas to artist, is a unique gift that exists solely between myself and the work I am creating. This process is strengthened when I complete the piece and what I have created is reflected onto those who view / experience the work. The final work also serves as the catalyst for inspiration to continue to create, relate and reflect. My current work involves taking pieces of my older watercolors, finding a specific abstract area that works, and then recreating it on a larger scale. This process allows me to live in the space of the actual creation and reflection of the piece simultaneously and live completely in the creative moment that is taking place."
Cathy's recent exhibitions include: Phantom Gallery Exhibition, various locations in Chicago, 2008; Murphy Hill Group Show, Chicago, 2008; Canito Studio, Chicago, 2008; Crows Nest, Kalamazoo, MI, 2008; Switching Stations Artist Lofts, Chicago, 2008; Whole Foods, River Forest, IL, 2008.
For more information on Cathy's gallery and art, contact Cathy at email@example.com.
Credits: Art images labeled with the artist's name were provided by the artist, and all other photos were provided by Amy A. Rudberg, unless otherwise indicated.