Pictured: William Catling, Bearing the Altarwood of Heaven. Ceramic, wood, and twine.
On View:April 1–August 20, 2023
Opening Reception:April 1, 2023, 4–6 PM
Members Tour:June 7, 2023, 12 PM

The exhibition Waiting in silence (through the long years) features new work by Southern California artist William Catling. It will be on view in the Vault Gallery April 1–August 20, 2023.

Artist Statement

Life is affirmed by using earthen materials, ancient references are explored, intuitive connections formed, and transcendence is sought in the deeply spiritual. The work is about the continued discovery of the true human condition residing deep within us.

The work is designed to be symbolic of an internal journey, quietly impacting the space around it or the viewer who comes close. The figures have a rough, textured surface, while branches and wings stand in for arms, signifiers of a different kind of power in their absence.

The figures are created to emit an archaic sensibility, a strong connection of the past to the present. The work is inspired by the challenge of life experiences, sufferings and recurring themes from the search for wholeness.

In the work, an attempt is made to address the loss of the natural sense of being human, that is the deeply intuitive sense of identity. Humanity has become disconnected from the natural rhythms of life and the deep spiritual truths of life.

The condition of the figures lend themselves to the viewer’s engaging in the process of “reconnection” by joining in the transcendent element of the work. The figures lead us into the possibility of the invisible world and spiritual uplift within various stages of contemplation. Their feet are anchored to the earth while the body is stretched upwards as if towards the heavens.

The work projects an ancient, archaic oneness of humanity’s need for the internal search for direction and meaning. The work challenges the viewer to re-examine their relationship to the spiritual and to the need for an internal life. The art is an attempt to raise the viewer’s consciousness above the distracted, destructive and unaware content of much of contemporary life, to an upward and inward journey of spiritual transcendent experience, through the archaic, elementary order of the human figure.

William Catling

About the Artist

William Catling was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area. He decided at an early age that art was what he wanted to do for life. Catling taught high school for 10 years, then moved to Southern California to begin teaching at Azusa Pacific University in 1991. An art professor, he currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Art at APU.

Learn more about Catling on his website.

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