Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Catherine M. Stewart earned her BSc from the University of Toronto and an MFA from the University of British Columbia.
Her recent artistic investigations relate visually and philosophically to the practices, aesthetics and history of science. Venues for solo exhibitions include the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (2002), the Glasgow Science Centre (2004), and Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, UK in conjunction with the Darwin Festival (2009). Catherine’s last collaborative project with Ivan and Claus was the Invoking Venus: Feathers and Fashion exhibition at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in 2013.
“His greatest desire was to know the difference between himself and the beast, and occasionally he became so absorbed in observing it that he truly believed he had sensed for a moment the nature of the creature’s existence.” Anton Reiser: A Psychological Novel by Karl Philipp Moritz: trans. by J.R. Russell
My approach for the Skin & Bones project was to try to capture some of the haunting beauty of the museum specimens, to ‘touch’ the animal within us and, in so doing, shift our perception of nature and our connection to it. The inclusion of display cases of historical animal-sourced fashion accessories provides yet another link between non-human species and ourselves. My hope is that this exhibition will encourage reflection and discourse about our morally complicated relationship with the natural world and foster a more nuanced and balanced understanding of our collective responsibility for maintaining what remains of it.