Paul Catanese, Hybrid Media Artist

Observatories of Uncharted Vitreous
2011 | Installation | Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright State University





the aqueous world in which they are suspended. The illusionary boundary between the physical and ethereal is constructed using reflective Mylar. Directed overhead lights react with the Mylar and cast shimmery reflections around the walls and ceiling, activating a liquescent dimension – and a truly immersive environment. Together with the lighted surfaces of the overhead projectors, micro becomes macro and the silhouettes of small bones, beads, and plants become, in a sense, an extension of what the artist perceives with his own eyes that others can’t.

Paul also began his ongoing relief print Celestial Workshops and Aquifers series by drawing the amoebic shapes of these floaters. The stark black and white prints harken back to the small Gameboy screens, but this time the imagery prompts the mechanics of optics with the addition of dashed lines and angled,


structural marks. Although one wouldn’t know it by looking, these prints were etched with a process in which the artist incorporated computer-controlled machines, custom drawing software, and a pressure-sensitive stylus tablet. This “Digital Relief” process, as Paul terms it, allows an industrial machine to carve into the aluminum plate’s surface while keeping the artist’s hand present in the drawing, inking, and pulling of the printing matrix. The resulting prints are subtle and feature wonderfully varied lines that are bound by heavy black ink – or cosmic dark matter.

The push and pull between the minuscule and vast, the tactile and digital, creates an exceptional force in Paul’s work. The results of his hybrid media experiments are often alluring and unexpected, almost like finding a recognizable voice extracted from the surface of an ancient vase.



( The essay “Relics and Constellations” by Tess Cortés appears in the exhibition catalogue accompanying this solo exhibition of the same title at Wright State University. Copies of the exhibition catalog can be purchased via Lulu; all proceeds support the programming of the Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries. )