'Drawing in Time' an exhibition of new works by Catrin Webster, 2009
'Drawing in Time' is an exhibition consisting of postcards, paintings and drawings by Catrin Webster who lives in Borth, Ceredigion. June, 2009
Gwenllian Ashley assistant curator at Ceredigion Museum describes the display: 'In this show Catrin explores the idea of landscape and how it is viewed. It is a very fresh and thought provoking exhibition and raises many questions about the way we see and think about our surroundings.'
Catrin explains that for this body of drawings and paintings she has been inspired by postcard images of landscape. 'I have been studying the relationship of time, travel, space and presence or absence in a place as seen through the study of postcard both new and old.'
The exhibition includes: postcards of places, paintings of postcards, drawings on postcards and drawings in places from postcards. Catrin is interested in what happens when these documents are bought and sent from one country to another, from one person to another and how the image on the postcard can form an impression of that landscape on the mind.
Gwenllian Ashley has followed the career of Catrin Webster and explains that this show is only part of Catrin's work, 'Catrin has been doing a PhD at Aberystwyth University and this display is only part of a joint show with the galleries at the School of Art in the University. Both shows are on at the same time so that you can see the range and quantity of work that Catrin has produced recently.'
'She has been working on this series of new paintings and drawings while studying on her course. Here she continues to explore the idea of landscape but introduces other key elements into the work such as time and memory.'
Catrin adds, 'Memory comprises not only resonations of actual experiences from the past but also from secondary sources such as film, photography, and the word.'
Catrin goes on to explain that she traveled to Rome in 2008 where she undertook a painting residency at the British School in Rome.
'When I traveled to Rome I had just seen the 1953 film 'Roman Holiday' which seemed to be constantly playing in my head. Early one Sunday morning I discovered, in a street market, a set of 1950s black and white photographic postcards of the city, a bit like stills from the film. Each showed a site in the city of historic importance like the Spanish steps, St Angelo, Saint Peters, the Coliseum. I systematically visited each place depicted in the postcard photographs just like Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, though not quite so glamorous.'
Catrin says, 'The pictures on the cards showed a place so similar to the scene in front of me, almost exactly the same apart from now there were more people and traffic, and the people caught by chance on camera going about their business were now long gone - but at the split second when the photograph was taken they were there, as I was.'
Her response to this experience led her to think more about time passing and the way in which people react to a place.
On returning to Wales, Gwenllian encouraged Catrin to continue with her work and invited her to view the extensive collection of postcards held at Ceredigion Museum.
Catrin was able to use her experiences abroad to look again at her own surrounding landscape in Ceredigion.
'I began to look for cards local to the Aberystwyth area and borrowed some cards from the Ceredigion Museum collection. These cards had a profound effect as they re- presented familiar places. I began to study the cards through painting, first small scale and then via large scale watercolor paintings.'
It was not only the images of the landscape that Catrin studied but also the messages written on the back which sometimes revealed the senders reaction to the place.
'I was fascinated by what people sent as a message and then again the stamps and the fact that each was dated and recorded as being sent at a particular time. These were documents that were layered in history about a landscape. I started to get excited about the idea of layers of time and sent my own postcards, sometimes created out of these old images. It was like building up another layer on top of the first.'