Synthetic meets organic in sculpture student’s grant project

Cate Solari hosts an exhibition in the art building funded by an IDEA grant on March 2. 2017. Her project focused on sculptural printmaking which included her hair, blow up tires, and tree bark. (Chrstine Pan/The Daily Campus)

Senior sculpture major Cate Solari’s collection gallantly highlighted the untouched beauty of found objects in the gallery space of the art building. Composed primarily of her own hair, chunks of fallen trees and discarded tires collected from local highways, Solari used many different strategies and methods to generate sculptural print making, drawing heavily on the parallel of lines found in all three components of her work.

“The first pieces that I did were the two prints of the tire shred and the bark of a hardwood tree,” Solari said.

“That’s where a lot of the momentum of my collection came from. It seemed very clear to me the connections I could make with the patterns of the two objects. After I began to focus on the three elements I chose, I was tempted to incorporate other mediums but I truly wanted to push the materials that I had as far as I could.”

Her grant work began as a one-to-one mapping project, which consists of creating both two-dimensional and three-dimensional relief works to accent the natural forms, generated by the wood she collected. Applying a liquid clay mixture to the surfaces of these rotting logs and removing “like an archeologist” to reveal all the elaborate intricacies that the rotting flesh that the trunks possessed. Later, she used the same process on larger pieces of wood with molten pewter casting, creating complex organic shapes to accent the textures and values of the deciduous hardwood.

“I knew her previous work and knew she was a very talented sculptor but this collection of works in the gallery space really showed her design side as well. She used the space perfectly; it made her work look so elegant, said eighth semester graphic design major Renald Louissaint. “The clean gallery space was an excellent contrast to her pieces that allowed people to look at them with a perspective that might have been missing as just a found object.”

The gallery was composed in many layers that sprawled out across all the walls and floor, which created an element of depth within the pieces themselves as well as the gallery space as its own composition.

“I struggled with how I would ultimately compose the works in the space that I had. My workspace is only a small cubicle so I don’t have much room to lay things out and rework them. I feared that there would be an imbalance of the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional pieces but in the end I think the gallery came together nicely,” Solari said. “One aspect I try to keep with my work is putting myself into my pieces in a personal way. I used my own hair because I wanted to be connected to my work on a physical level as opposed to emotionally or visually.”


The gallery will be up in Room 109 of the art building until March 4. Her work was made possible by the OUR IDEA Grant.


Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.