Catherine Hois

Catherine Hois
York University (Toronto,ON)

My current project is inspired by my interest in human beings and their relationship with the natural world, and with the technological world. As I think about and observe human beings, machines, and nature, I realise that all three categories are systems with their own complexities, simplicities, and relate to one another. I have always been a scavenger and collector, and for my art I like to collect technology; old and new, and other man made items and found objects. Sometimes I categorize them, for example collecting telephones from various eras. I then transform them into large scale sculptural paintings that mimic systems within nature, machines, and humans. I do this by arranging the found objects together on a surface and securing them into a form that is inspired by a system. Finally, I paint over the objects with acrylics, camouflaging and unifying the objects into a whole. This is a long, enjoyable process for me; because I am not painting on a flat surface, there are many surfaces that I cover with paint. I paint the top, sides, and sometimes the backs of certain objects on my pieces. I reuse and repurpose technology and other objects that I find in my house, in storage, on the street, in second-hand stores, given to me from friends and family, and using them throughout my pieces. It is an exciting day for me when a friend comes to me with a bag of old broken phone chargers and remotes saying “my mom just cleaned out her basement.” In a way I am documenting the evolution of technology by displaying older models of radios and televisions, triggering a personal nostalgia. I find the nuts and bolts of a machine very interesting and beautiful, and enjoy taking them apart and making connections between the system of a machine, to the systems of nature and humans. 

In the past I have used old paint brushes, rags, and empty paint jars coffee cups, plastic containers and bags, egg cartons, and various other recyclable items, and have also used objects such as broken keyboards, instruments, old dolls and other children’s toys, broken cellphones and other unusable electronics, old clothes – and the list goes on. I hope to engage the viewer with my narrative, while leaving room for the viewer to make their own connections through abstraction. 

Catherine Hois is a visual artist, who paints on found object assemblage structures that she forms herself. She is interested in the systems within technology in relation to systems within nature, and how humans connect to machine and nature. She grew up in the small village of Schomberg, Ontario and is graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Education in the spring of 2020. She will also be going back to York in the fall of 2020 to start her Master of Fine Arts. Catherine’s 3-dimensional assemblage paintings are large scale, averaging around 7ft by 5ft. She collects a wide variety of objects and materials, including old and new technology such as computers, cameras, keyboards, extension cords, televisions, and remote controls, and disassembles those machines to expose inner wires, microchips, and other machine parts; which she incorporates into her pieces.