Cate Maddy’s Melbourne home studio is surrounded by bushland, clearly inspiring her stunning, layered artworks. Her studio is full of the things that inspire her: vases of native flowers, collections of pebbles, bird nests, drift wood, broken wood and any object that takes her fancy. “I couldn’t live without my collections. My computer of course is also a necessity as well as my phone to take photos of plants as I am walking the parks and bushland.”
Cate has always been interested in art; her whole family are creative in different ways and were brought up to be curious about the world. “I can remember creating a collage of a rooster in Grade 1 with a huge tail made out of hundreds of tiny pieces of paper, when most of the kids probably used about 5 pieces of paper. I remember the satisfaction I felt on completing that even now.”
Cate studied Graphic Art and worked in Advertising for 12 years before going back to study Visual Art at TAFE, followed by a Fine Art Degree at RMIT. While at university, she won the Siemens Award - a travel scholarship which she used to go on the RMIT Art Tour to New York. ‘That was certainly a highlight and very exciting to go to a city literally dripping with Art.’ Last year, Cate was a finalist in the Kennedy Prize in Adelaide and spent a month studying painting in Venice. She has now exhibited in every major city in Australia, along with several Regional galleries, exhibited in London and sold work internationally. “I think a big highlight for me has been connecting with people on Instagram from all over the world through our art, our pets or whatever is interesting to us. I have been surprised and humbled by that.”
Cate starts a work in acrylic paint, then builds up the layers with oil paint, aiming to create a sense of movement and variations of texture. When discussing her inspirations, Cate describes colour as her passion; with its limitless variations, it is always a source of inspiration for her. “I am inspired by the natural world, especially native flora at the moment. I love Abstract Expressionism and colour work, abstraction and Naïve painting. I love house plants and Indian rugs and paper lanterns – anything bohemian really. Oh, and my kittens of course! They are always getting in the way and making me laugh in the studio.”
Cate describes the underlying theme of ‘relationships’ that run through her works. “My paintings are actually about relationships, believe it or not. We have relationships with everything in this world, so sometimes I might be talking about the relationship we have to nature or maybe a relationship with a person that could be proving a joy or problematic. I like the term ‘expressionism’ because it talks to the way we express ourselves. I express myself through my art in a physical way with big brushstrokes, bold colour, harsh areas and soft moments. My work is emotional and tumultuous like life itself.”
See Forman’s collection of stunning Cate Maddy works here!