Bermuda Artists

Work in Progress

Kinesis by Catherine Lapsley

Catherine Lapsley first began working on her In My Life series a decade ago. The paintings, which follow a strict grid system infused with splashes of bold colour, began as an exploration of the contrast between structure and movement.

Earlier this week Catherine began work on Kinesis, a project curated by BNG Trustee Mitchell Klink, which will see one of her signature paintings take over all three walls of the BNG Project Space to turn it into an immersive installation.

We caught up with the artist as she began painting the undercoat directly onto the walls of the gallery, to discuss how the project came about, the challenges that it brings and what she hopes people will take from it when it is completed.

Top: Catherine Lapsley at work on Day 1 of the installation. Above: Detail from Upswell, which is the starting point for the project.

BNG: Upswell (above), the painting which forms the starting point for Kinesis, is part of an going series. Can you please tell us about it?

CL: I have been working on this series since 2013. I wanted to see what I could develop within a very strict grid system. I was experimenting with how you could use that as your starting point yet still create something that is going to have life and movement within it.

BNG: A painting from this series was included in the 2022 Bermuda Biennial and some were also recently shown at the Bermuda Society of Arts. Will the series ever be complete?

CL: No, I don’t think it will ever be finished because now I’m creating movement in them by doing things with the actual grid itself and I’m experimenting with how that works.

BNG: Kinesis will see one of your paintings expand to encompass all three walls of the BNG Project Space into an immersive installation. How did this project come about?

CL: Mitchel Klink (BNG Trustee) approached me with the idea and I thought it was very interesting. I liked the immersive idea – although it’s not quite at the level of David Hockney’s Bigger & Closer! I also liked idea of doing it by taking just one painting and expanding it and seeing where that leads.

Catherine Lapsley’s work (right) on display in the 2022 Bermuda Biennial.

BNG: How did you settle on Upswell as the starting point?

CL: I felt that there was more that I could do more with it. It had more of a guttural feeling. Also, when I look at it, I think of the deep ocean and that made sense as there Andrew Stevenson’s wonderful whale exhibition in the Watlington Gallery.

BNG: What do you hope that people will take away from it by being an entire room as opposed to a 2D piece?

CL: I hope that people get a feeling of being enveloped in something which is very structured, yet fluid, and that they see that as possibly representing the ocean, despite the fact that it isn’t actually anything like it because it’s very grid based. I hope that it makes people think about how you can take something as simple as a line, or a basic shape, and create something different from it. I hope that it evokes an emotion.

BNG: The physical making of it is quite a complex problem to solve. What is the plan?

CL: We started off thinking that maybe it would be a projected image rather than an actual painting, which would reproduce it exactly. Now, the painting has morphed into being the starting point, and I’ll create from there. It’s an exercise in how you can take something and extrapolate it. The fun part will be once we start doing the walls and we can have the lines doing what I want.

Day 2 of the installation in the BNG Project Space. The project will take approximately three weeks to complete. Visitors are encouraged to come and see the work in progress.

BNG: You’re going to be drawing directly onto the wall. Will you start with a grid?

CL: Yes. This is the base colour and then I’ll draw a grid with tape and paint the squares/ shapes. The fun part will be when I take the tape off and it’s all revealed!

BNG: Yes! We’re setting up a camera so we will catch that all on film. When the project is completed, we plan to display a timelapse of the installation so people can see the process.

CL: Mitchell also came up with the idea of incorporating six canvases onto the walls, which we are embedding into the artwork. We can save them when the installation comes down so there will be something left afterwards. It also gives it another dimension, which is interesting. We’ll have to wait and see what people think of it!

Kinesis will be on display in the BNG Project Space through to September. The installation will take approximately three weeks to complete. Visitors are encouraged to come and view the work in progress.