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        News — Laura Catherwood

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        Laura Catherwood ‘Book of Yielding’

        Laura Catherwood ‘Book of Yielding’

        Vertical Gallery is very proud to present ‘Book of Yielding,’ a new solo exhibition from Chicago-based painter and illustrator Laura Catherwood.

        ‘Book of Yielding,’ which runs from March 12 to April 10 at Vertical Project Space’s West Town location (2006 W. Chicago Ave. #1R; enter via the alley off Damen Ave.), features close to two dozen pencil drawings and oil-painted panels — melancholy, delicately textured portraits that transport viewers to a mysterious and magical reality of Catherwood’s making, where flora, fauna and human feeling coalesce in unexpected and unsettling ways.

        The title ‘Book of Yielding’ plays on the dual meaning of the word “yield,” Catherwood says. “A yield can be a fruit you receive, but it can also mean to submit, or to give something up. That summarizes the show: it’s telling you that life is essentially a series of gains and losses. The pieces illustrate that dynamic in a way that’s meant to be comforting — to encourage acceptance.”

        ‘Book of Yielding’ also embraces the narrative promise of its title. The individual pieces function together much like the elements of a book, Catherwood says.

        “The pencil drawings look like the illustrations you might see in a dictionary or encyclopedia, and some of the paintings look like botanical drawings or natural history drawings, but with my illustrative twist,” she explains. “The work is not simply representational, however. These aren’t creatures as they appear in nature. They look like field drawings, but of a more emotional landscape. The overall narrative may seem a little strange and unfamiliar, but it touches something inside people… some buried sadness, or maybe something they’ve never even put words to. I want them to feel comfort — that it’s natural to feel that way.”

        Both art and science have exerted enormous influence over Catherwood’s life. As a child, she split her time exploring the prairie preserve near her family’s home and staying indoors drawing, painting and reading, and her lifelong fascination with the natural world inspired her to study molecular and cellular biology at the University of Illinois. “I was intending to go into neuroscience research, and I worked in several labs,” Catherwood says. “Eventually I realized I’d always taken painting for granted, and when I didn’t have time for it any more, it hurt.” So after completing her degree, she decided to pursue a career in art, studying at the School of Representational Art and Atelier Eftimov.

        Catherwood began exhibiting her work in group shows in 2016, producing her first solo exhibition ‘Jalan Jalan’ two years later. Her work has since appeared in solo and group settings across Chicago, including the 2021 Vertical group shows ‘Atomic Number 13’ and ‘Water the Plants!’ In addition, Catherwood has exhibited in cities including Minneapolis; Lakewood, Colo.; and Alhambra, Calif.

        Laura Catherwood
        ‘Book of Yielding’
        March 12 – April 10, 2022
        Opening weekend March 12 & 13, noon-5pm
        Vertical Project Space
        2006 W. Chicago Ave #1R