Old GloriesCatherine Courtenaye ’79, Modernism gallery, San Francisco (Sept. 13-Oct. 27, 2012)

Courtenaye’s work is inspired by and incorporates handwritten artifacts of the 19th century. Her oil paintings recontextualize the handwriting in documents she has examined in museums, libraries, and in her own collection.

I am especially interested in ferreting out instances of deviation from Victorian writing standards,” Courtenaye wrote in an introduction to the San Francisco show. “These tiny gestures express an improvisatory spirit at odds with strict rules of stylistic conformity. Here one can see the human impulse to let the mind stray, with pen in hand. … In my work, I want to remember that, despite the radical social transformations that technology has brought, those ancestors are not so different from us.”

There is more about Courtenaye’s work at catherinecourtenaye.com