At the heart of my work is a fascination with artifacts, culture and color. I seek objects that transcend time and culture and work to translate their truths into a modern expression. I have over one hundred “Drawers of Delight” filled with Chinese tea tins, a North African Tuareg wallet, an antique abacus, Tibetan Gau reliquaries, petrified ammonite spiral shells, and Buddhist conch horn trumpets. Whether I am sculpting figures, hand shaping vessels or working on a painting, I reach into these drawers to find the perfect object to breathe its life into each piece.
Ideas come to me often like Muses in the night. I work with these inspirations through a variety of mixed media - paint, pastels, clay and sculptural surface treatments. I sculpt elements to surround the main object, making sure that every element in the piece compliments and support the other objects.
When I discover an object or artifact, I see a vision for the whole painting. It is then I begin to unfold its story. Recently, I found a Tibetan oxen yoke. I saw the art in the piece itself. While examining the yoke, I could see that the Tibetan farmer had decorated the yoke with red cloth and large wooden beads-- integrating beauty and respect for the oxen into the yoke. I could see the way human hands had rubbed and pulled on the yoke. Behind that touch was a respect for the oxen. It is that intention that I honor. I make sure the rest of the elements surrounding this focal piece reflect this respect.
It’s as if working with the artifacts causes a merging with peoples of a different time and space, connecting me to them through their objects. I will often surround myself with the music and rhythms of the culture until I disappear into the piece. I then allow my hands to create the sensual essence of that culture. It is my hope that my art work conveys a sense of my process to all who view it.
My use of color of is directly related to time. The natural beauty of a shell conveys the journey of time. I choose rich organic earth tones that speak of time and shows how an object has lived. I feel privileged to reflect the gracious and abundant inspiration of nature and am grateful for tools and ideas nature provides me to create my art.
Time creates art and is one of the greatest artists. It takes me as its partner to uncover the beauty in the mundane and the holy.
Cathy is a mixed media artist and illustrator with a passion for using a wide variety of media in her work, including raw earth elements and cultural artifacts. Cathy's world travels inspire and greatly influence her work. A painter by training and a sculptor by nature, Cathy pieces are one-of-a-kind treasures.
Teachers in the philosophy of Asian art mentored Cathy in use of balance, space and shape. Deeply influenced by this way of seeing, Cathy continues to integrate this way and wisdom into her work and teaching that now spans 30 years.
In the 1970’s Cathy’s focus was on welding and metal sculpture. From there she moved into mixed media and figurative work. During this time she was featured in galleries in Portland and Seattle.
In 2000, she launched Cathy Dorris Studios in southern Oregon, where she creates and teaches art. Her repertoire includes: art as therapy, mixed media painting, Japanese sumi-e, sculpture, assemblage, and jewelry. Sought after as a nationally known mixed media artist, Cathy continues to teach, yet is currently focused in bringing to life the prolific Muse that is moving through her at this time.
Since age 12, Cathy enjoys her musicianship as a percussionist. She was a member of the Rogue Valley Symphony, The Ashland City Band, and Hand-in-Hand Drummers, a Afro/Latino performance group in Southern Oregon.
She delights in taking mundane objects and artifacts and turning them into museum style pieces. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers and shown in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest.
- 1995-2000: The Artisan Gallery - Lake Oswego, Oregon
- 1997-1998: Asante Healthcare Systems, Hearthstone Facility - Medford, Oregon
- 2010: Tribal, a Feast for the Senses - Ashland, Oregon
- 2010: A Celebration of Hispanic Style Folk Art - Ashland, Oregon
- 2014: A One Woman Show - Royce Realty, Ashland, Oregon
Cathy's artwork is held in private and corporate collections locally and throughout the West Coast.
- Art Doll Magazine: Summer 2003, Autumn 2003, Winter 2004
- 1990-2000: Art Instructor for the Talented and Gifted, various Souther Oregon Elementary Schools
- 1997-1998: Art as Therapy for Seniors - Medford, Oregon
- 2000-2003: Art as Therapy for Adolescents - Medford, Oregon
- 2001-Present: Studio workshops and classes, Cathy Dorris Studios, Southern Oregon
- 2010-2012: Art and Soul Retreats - Portland, Oregon
- 2011-2012: Art Is...You! - Petaluma, California
- 2013-Present: The Brushed Cork, an Art and Wine Experience - various Oregon Wineries
- 1972-1975: Art in Marketing - Southern Oregon University - Ashland, Oregon