Catherine McGuiness

"Sometimes I do hand sewing and sometimes paintings and drawings. I love my artworks because it helps me concentrate and have focus. I feel proud of them. My artwork is fun and they help me learn."

Catherine is a fearless and frenzied creative. In any one of her pieces, a hundred marks and overlaps might sit beneath her signature. In painting, Catherine is constantly scraping, wiping out, and flooding the canvas with colour. On the page, she uses acrylic and Posca to draw shimmering webs of dots and lines. Sometimes a bird or bridge takes shape - other times, she gives herself over completely to abstraction.

Catherine’s involvement in Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop, a 300 square metre mural for the grand court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, was a major coup for the emerging artist. Catherine was tasked with “portraying a person or being who has supported her during 2020”. She decided to portray the Little Mermaid - an enchanted princess who espouses the values of courage and persistence. It’s little wonder the artist, who never fails to launch herself completely into her craft, felt an affinity with the character.

Catherine has thrice exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, twice in the Archibald Prize (2022, 2023). Her first entry, titled Rosary with the Seagull, captured Sydney artist Rosie Deacon. “Rosie is my lovely, lovely dancing teacher,” says Catherine of the painting. “I painted her because she’s gorgeous”. 

Catherine’s second, and perhaps most recognisable entry, depicted Kylie Kwong, a well-known Australian–Cantonese chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. ‘Kylie bought one of my artworks.’ Catherine explains. ‘I really liked meeting her because she’s a lovely person. ... I painted Kylie wearing her favourite necklace and her round glasses. “Lucky” is written lots and lots to refer to Kylie’s special restaurant and in memory of her son, after whom the restaurant is named.’

Catherine has been commissioned and exhibited by some of Australia’s most prestigious art institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydney, Australian Design Centre and Cementa Festival. Her works are held in numerous collections, including the University of New South Wales (curated by Elena Taylor) and North Sydney Council. 

In 2024 Catherine will have a joint solo show at Mosman Art Gallery with fellow Studio A artist Damian Showyin and long time collaborator Shan Turner-Carroll. 

- Words by Will Kollmorgen, portrait by Scott Heldorf

Artist CV Catherine McGuiness - CV
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