In my artwork I investigate the spatial possibilities of drawing. I render relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, with a special focus on structures and objects that collapse/expand, fold/unfold, and that are portable when closed. Intertwined with this research, I reflect on our relationship with nature and what we define as such, in an increasingly manipulated and constructed environment, conditioned by culture.
I build portable and nomadic structures that can acquire several configurations and adapt to different spaces and places. Working in a variety of formats such as large size installations, works on paper, or fabric works, I incorporate into the work’s narrative the potential of each piece to be manipulated and transformed. Hence my attention to the book form. Uplift, created in 2008 at the Center for Book Arts in New York, while as an artist-in-residency, was pivotal in my research. As a platform to explore the articulation between sculpture and drawing, this pop-up book led to subsequent works such as Invasive Species, 2010, a piece which may function as a book or expand into an installation that occupies a whole room. The shift in scale relations that an open or closed piece can generate is significant in terms of how it is perceived, and it contributes with another layer to the development of the idea of an economy of means, which has been present in my practice. In Uplift, a narrative was created from a series of black and white drawings. Tracing ambiguous relationships between figure and ground through the use of deep black shapes and white areas, the drawings represent scenes of an interaction between an organic and a constructed world. In the book, I add a three-dimensional component, aiming to expand the spatial scope of drawing, introducing positive and negative volumes, orifices, light and shade.
Catarina Leitão, 2013