Monday, April 12, 2021

Catherine Nash, An Inner Astronomy: Solo Exhibition, Master Gallery in the Tubac Center of the Arts

A virtual visit!

Catherine Nash, M.F.A.An Inner Astronomy: Solo Exhibition

in the Master Gallery in the Tubac Center of the Arts,  9th Apr - 23rd May, 2021.

Mixed media paintings on paper, sculptural assemblage and installation.

Talk with the Artist Zoom: Catherine Nash & Robert Renfrow, 1st  May, 10:30am PST.  Please contact <> for zoom link.  

Tubac Center of the Arts, #9 Plaza Rd, Tubac, AZ 85646  Gallery open Mon-Sat 10AM-4:30PM; Sun. 12-4:30PM. 

north wall

Twilight through the Window (with detail)
mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper.
54.5 x 27.25 in. (138.5 x 69 cm.)

$2100 retail.

Portal (with detail)
mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper.
47.5 x 36 in. (121 x 91.5 cm.)

$2900 retail.   

Mountain on Fire with Meteors (with detail)
mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper.
54.5 x 27.25 in. (138.5 x 69 cm.)

$2100 retail.   

Sky Nest (with detail)
Cast gampi & abaca paper fibers into a lashed armature of 

creosote branches, encased in encaustic, oil stick. 

26”h X 40”w X 10”d  (66 x 101.5 x 25.5 cm.)

Sky Trap (with detail)
found woodworked pine and walnut wood, encaustic, oil 

stick, lashed willow branches. 

7”h X 13”w X 13”d  (17.75 x 33 x 33 cm.)

$995 retail.

west wall

In Memory of Communion

Pencil, handmade paper, encaustic, gold leaf, weathered shingle, 

antique plumb, found objects. 

21"h x 10"w x 3.75”d  (53 x 25.5 x 9.5 cm.)

$1500 retail.

Euphonic Horizon

mixed media painting on handmade spanish flax paper 

24.5 x 18.25 in.  (62.25 x 46.5 cm.)

$1100 retail.


mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper 

25.5 x 21 in.  (65 x 53.5 cm.)

in private collection.

Star Murmurs

mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper 

23 x 17.5 in.  (58.5 x 44.5 cm.)

$1100 retail.

Celestial Day (with detail)

mixed media painting on handmade kozo paper 

80 x 16 in.  (203 x 40.6 cm.)

$1750 retail.

An Inner Astronomy, installation - video

An Inner Astronomy:  Artist Statement

I can spend hours staring into the sky, mesmerized by the expansiveness of the sky, pondering on our place in the universe.  The vastness of space holds an ultimate touchstone for me: the sky is a window to the infinite. Through time, humankind has sought to explain and fathom the mystery of our being: in these bodies, on this planet, in this galaxy through mathematics and science and religion.  My studies in archeo-astronomy - the exploration of how varied cultures have explained the mysteries of the stars and sky through mapping, symbols and myth - as well as my own dreaming and explorations have informed “An Inner Astronomy”.

I hope you can make it to the actual exhibition!!  But please enjoy this virtual tour~
- Catherine Nash

Concurrently, artist Robert Renfrow has a solo exhibition 
entitled "Dwellers of the Thin Places" 
in the gallery of the Tubac Center of the Arts...same dates, same time!

Robert Renfrow, Goddess of Reincarnation.

Please view more of his moving work at <>

Friday, October 2, 2020

"Botanical Reveries" - Installation by Catherine Nash

Botanical Reveries
exhibited at the AZ Sonora Desert Museum's Ironwood Gallery 
in Tucson, Arizona through November 1st, 2020

Botanical Reveries,   2020
Artist Book Installation by Catherine Nash 
at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Botanical Reveries pays tribute to the world of plants, from mythology to science to poetry and art. This work has had a slow but steady journey to fruition: twenty years ago, I found the antique belted leather case (on the desk) that unfolds when opened, and it inspired my imagination.

A significant undercurrent through my entire life has always been my love of botanicals…I can mark events in my life from plant to plant. I pondered a fictional life of an artist/amateur botanist who, sometime in the distant past, would carry her art supplies with her into the field to record her botanical discoveries and dreamings. I hand made the hemp paper and fashioned it into a really long accordion folded book for the botanist’s journal, started some plant drawings and stocked the leather case with vintage art supplies.

Reflecting a slow but consistent accumulation, my research took me into the history of botanical explorations into “unknown” lands, the varied ways that cultures interwove with their traditional use of plants as food and medicine, and how artists and poets utilized the metaphor of plants in their creative expression.

Victorian Field microscope from the 1880s.

Botanical Dissection Kit with my 2020 experimental diissection 

of a night blooming Cereus repandus flower.

15th century Italian botanical illustrations copied with gouache onto handmade paper.  

The original manuscript, a bound manuscript of 100 folios, is from northern Italy (mostly likely the Veneto) 

and contains a few different kinds of illustration styles, evidence of a series of augmentations 

to the manuscript made across several generations, is held within the Penn Libraries in Philadelphia, PA.

Color chart ca. 1790s. by Ferdinand Lucas Bauer [1760–1826] 
Handpainted example was adapted from Bauer’s original chart, ca. 1790s. 
Ferdinand Bauer, an Austrian botanical illustrator, uniquely recorded animals and plants as he found 
them live in the wild. He would analyze colors and assign them numbers in his drawings, to complete 
his illustrations back in his studio. 


First published in 1814, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours: Adapted to Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Mineralogy, Anatomy, 
and the Arts, was the foremost guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists, and anthropologists of its time. The system of classification was first devised by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner in the late 18th-century. Shortly after Scottish painter Patrick Syme updated Werner’s guide, matching color swatches 
and his own list of examples to the provided nomenclature. The book provided vast handwritten details 
describing numerous specific colors found on an animal, plant, or mineral.  
In 1831, Charles Darwin carried and used the guide during his voyage to the Madeira, Canary, 
and Cape Verde islands on the H.M.S. Beagle to describe his observation of "new" species.

Drawings on an 1881 school slate by Catherine Nash of corn seedlings/roots.  

Images adapted from :

Botany: A Textbook for College and University Students

by Williams J. Robbins and Harold W. Rickett, 1929

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

"Herbarium of the Desert Southwest" by Catherine Nash, made in the manner of young Emily Dickinson’s folio of botanical specimens. [with poems by Emily Dickinson both on the desk and clipped to Nash’s herbarium]  In her 1,789 poems, Dickinson refers to plants nearly 600 times and names more than 80 varieties, sometimes by genus or species. 


Henry David Thoreau and other Transcendentalist writers

During the 1830s/40s in New England, centered in the vibrant village of Concord, Massachusetts where Emerson lived, a spiritual philosophy arose among preachers, poets, writers, philosophers, and numerous like-thinkers.  Transcendentalists have a deep gratitude and appreciation for the visual beauty of nature, and a keen observing eye that helps them to understand the structured inner workings of the natural world. 

Henry David Thoreau from Walden Pond, 1845: 

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, 

to front only the essential facts of life, 

and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, 

and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived….

Catherine Nash - Cyanotype of Porophyllum gracile within a hand-bound book of southwestern plants. 
[created for teaching elementary school students in the manner of Anna Atkins (1799-1871)]
Trained as a botanist, Anna Atkins developed an interest in photography as a means of recording 
botanical specimens for a scientific reference book, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. 
This ca. 1843 publication was one of the first uses of photography to illustrate a book. 
Instead of traditional letterpress printing, the book's handwritten text and illustrations 
were created by the cyanotype method.

Catherine Nash, A Sprig in Morris’ Bottle, 2006

Painted as an ode to Morris Graves [1910-2001].  Gouache painting 

on an old Japanese poetry card, found in Morris Graves’ studio. 

Catherine was invited to spend two 3 week residencies [2006 & 2015] in Graves’ home and studio 

at The Lake, in Loleta, California, isolated on a lake in the middle of 300 acres of virgin redwood forest.  

Graves used the muted palette of the Northwest, Asian aesthetics and philosophy, and his personal iconography of 

birds, flowers, and other images to explore the nature of consciousness.

Morris Graves, Winter Bouquets. gouache painting on paper.

Papermaking references found in shelf to the right of the desk.

Examples of artist made tapa [bark cloth] of mulberry bark [Kozo] 

and artist made sheets of handmade paper made from varied plants.

Bundle of gampi fiber [to the far right.] Pounding hammer, used by the artist and her students of all ages, 

that has been used to pound literally hundreds of pounds of cooked bark fibers into pulp for papermaking.

Nash has been avidly making paper from plants since 1984.

The incomplete journal on the desk emphasizes a shift in perception from scientific to poetic, from technical to expressive. Surviving in a harsh environment, many desert plants protect themselves with dangerous thorns. In the journal, thorns became a metaphor for the worldwide viral pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic lockdown, I kept passing this plant “Crucifixion Thorn” (Canotia holocantha
along my hikes in the Sonoran Desert in mid March and early April. ...a very dangerous plant.

Exploring a wonderment and gratitude for the gifts plants can offer, Botanical Reveries celebrates the nourishment, healing, poetry and beauty we have growing all around us. The artist sits at the desk and steadily, over the years, compiles a life of botanical research, historical information, artifacts, and art…. and melds them into a visual accumulation of discovery and poetic interpretation.

I am honored to be included in the Faculty Exhibition of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute,  a unique educational facility that emphasizes the intersection of art and science...and where I have taught for more than two decades.  

Conservation through Art Education: An Exhibition of Works from the Art Institute Faculty
Currently on exhibit through November 1st, 2020 
in the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum's Ironwood Gallery in Tucson, Arizona.
Open to the public Mondays – Saturdays  |  10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 
Virtual exhibition can be found on the Art Institute's website:  link

Botanical Reveries,   2020
Artist Book Installation by Catherine Nash 

Catherine Nash: Artist Bio

With a lifelong dedication and consistency in her studio practice, Catherine Nash creates mixed media images and sculptures that respond to nature and reflect a spiritual and philosophical relationship with the environment: the poetics of landscape. The terrain, aesthetics and cultures of Japan, the rich gradations and spaciousness of Scandinavian summer night skies, her experiences with Native American friends and explorations of the southwestern desert wilderness influence and inform her artwork.

Specializing in Japanese and Western hand papermaking, encaustic painting and mixed media drawing, Nash has taught across the U.S., across western Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan. She is a faculty member at the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum Art Institute. Nash was, and is still, greatly honored to have received the “Lumies Artist 2015” award for southern Arizona, “awarded to an individual artist that has demonstrated excellence, originality and ingenuity in the local arts and culture sector.”

Her work has been included by invitation into numerous national and international exhibitions. Nash is a longtime resident of Tucson, Arizona.

Botanical Reveries, Medieval Botanicals in process - pandemic work. Online at the Penn Libraries site.