Born in Canada, Catherine Fenton began traveling with her family across Europe at the age of four living in Portugal, Guernsey, England before settling in Spain at the age of nine. The constant traveling created a need to grasp on to the sensation and the images of a transitory world and became her source of inspiration.
Sculpting and painting papier-mâché, clay and collage on board and canvas recreate landscape textures, Catherine experiments with the possibility of muscle memory in the media; turning newspaper once again into trees, clay once more into earth. Often using wood as a base and allowing the grain to show through, many paintings are occupied by trees as symbols of life, family connections, and roots sometimes stretching leafless towards a stormy sky or crowded together as fairytale reminders of our deepest fears, mystery and promise. Using art to comment on the changing natural environment, her work is searching for the structures that have replaced the dominance of the cathedral on the landscape, such as wind turbines and pylons as they still reach towards the heavens.
For years Catherine has been interested in global environmental issues and has tried to use art to bring these subjects into the public view. From campaigning for fairtrade with the FairTrade Foundation in the early 90s, taking a giant mug to the Houses of Parliament and successfully persuading the canteen to serve fairtrade tea and coffee, to donating work to the Medical Foundation, Terence Higgins Trust, Crescent Support and Great Ormond St Hospital. Recently Catherine organised an exhibition for World Toilet Day, supporting UN Water in highlighting the social and health problems in disadvantaged areas of the world and the 2.4 billion people without access to a toilet.
For this Catherine received a Cultural Innovation Award. Her tryptch “Be a Thinker, Be a Sharer, Be an Artist” using the World Health Organisation report on global sanitation as a background, was then donated to Toilet Twinning to further their work and exhibited in St Pauls Cathedral London on the 23 of March 2017 as part of the JustWater Initiative. Catherine is now a “Loo-minary” for Toilettwinning.org. The artwork was later auctioned and raised enough to built 3 school toilet blocks and washing facilities.
Catherine became a member of ArtCan an arts charity supporting and promoting emerging artists. In conjunction with Kate Enters, Catherine organised and co-curated an exhibition for World Water Day called Every Drop Counts in Clerkenwell London, using the 2017 UN Water theme Wastewater. Along with this Catherine and WITP will be held art workshops for children and adults, with help from WaterAid.UK and Thames Water called Message in a Bottle in the Wetland Centre Barnes and the Unicorn Theatre Tooley Street. Catherine is now the Philanthropic Progamme Director for Artcan looking for ways the team can create exhibitions that raise awareness of global issues and partner with charities to support practical solutions
I used to think that to change the world you had to be in power, but over the years I realised each small change we make collectively, is the power.”
May 2017 Catherine exhibited in Global Reactive, an international exhibition highlighting the ongoing issues around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Each artist will be interpreting a five line poem “gogyohshi” from the poet Taro Aizu, born in Fukushima, many international poetry awards. Collaging cesium reports
2018 rounded up with the International Day of the Girl Child Exhibition at the London Resource Centre curated by Catherine for ArtCan . Artist tackled personal or vicarious experiences of prejudice, limitation and hope. Catherine wanted to create a more tangible difference and made links with Hibiscus Initiatives a charity that supports women who are foreign nationals that need legal assistance and emotional support. Women at Hibiscus were given the chance to shadow ArtCan and learn how to organise an exhibiton from hanging the exhibition to the private view. ArtCan then helped Hibiscus organise their own exhibition of jewellery, sharing the event on ArtCan platforms. Hibiscus said the event boosted their clients confidence and made them feel valued and appreciated and they loved being creative
Now living in Madrid, continues to paint and create opportunities for art to be a force for change.