‘I have a strong belief that you need courage as an artist to break away from the mould. There always needs to be an element of fear in making work’

“Drawing has always been an important discipline in my practice. As an art student I specialised in life drawing and portraiture, but was encouraged by my tutors to take things further. Taking risks, challenging processes and experimenting with different materials are some of the essential things that drive me. But while the line drawing is an important element of my work, I am also driven to paint and make sculpture. Currently I am using oil, acrylic and Conté as well as bronze for my sculptural work.

In my latest paintings I try to balance colour and the application of oil paint together with my life drawings which explode on a much larger scale to create equilibrium between painting and drawing. I explore classical topics (anatomy and realism) and counter balance these with abstract painting to convey emotion. I very often start with the abstraction process, working on my canvasses directly on the floor with large brushes taped to the ends of poles before working on the finer, more figurative elements.

A ‘Sense of place’ and ‘Belonging’ are recurring themes in my work following on from a previous series of paintings entitled ‘Uprooted’, which was about displacement and exile. This work represented my own shifts in identity and sense of place, especially the challenges I faced as a gay person growing up in a broken home. I have pursued my own sense of belonging for many years, which I feel that I have now found in my adopted Wales.

My work is inspired by a broad spectrum of artists, from Renaissance painters like Caravaggio who combined a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, to American Abstract Expressionists such as Hans Hofmann, mainly because of his use of colour and composition and the shear size of his powerful works. Hofmann held a strong conviction about the spiritual and social value of art. This is a conviction I also share and use to galvanise the themes I am working on.

Another more contemporary influence on my work is Julian Schnabel the American painter and filmmaker, who frequently experiments with new materials and painting techniques, and embraces various modes simultaneously to avoid being limited by a signature style. I aspire to the same drivers, which resonate with my own practice”.

Originally from Buckinghamshire, Cathy Stocker studied at Amersham College of Art & Design and Leeds Polytechnic, graduating in 1988 with a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art. In 1996, she moved to London where she managed a variety of design projects before concentrating on her art full time. Since 2007, she has exhibited extensively across the UK and as far afield as Finland. She is now based in rural Wales where she draws, paints and sculpts.

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