Handwriting on the Wall

 

 

Courtenaye book
Catherine Courtenaye: Paintings
Catherine Courtenaye ’79
Boise Art Museum (May 14–Oct. 16, 2011)

Catherine Courtenaye’s abstract paintings are grounded in the vernacular penmanship of 19th-century America and are the outcome of her interest in handwriting manuals, ledgers, and documents. Using a variety of printmaking techniques, Courtenaye  transfers phrases, signatures, alphabets, and numbers from original manuscript sources onto painted surfaces, layering her compositions to create a metaphor for the passage of time. Her graphic quotations refer to the Victorian era, when proper penmanship was a requisite skill and the mastery of cursive was considered a path to self-improvement. Courtenaye’s art becomes particularly relevant at a time when typing and texting have replaced the handwritten word.

Courtenaye print
Catherine Courtenaye, Jabberwocky 25 (Swoon), 2010, oil on panel
12 x 12 inches, courtesy of the artist.

 
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