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Catherine Hess: A Singular Vision of the Outer Cape

Reception: Saturday, May 26, 2018, 5-7 PM

8x11 Surf**

April 7- May 26, 2018
Hess will exhibit over 20 monotypes at the Hall. Also known as the “painterly print”, and favored by such masters as Edgar Degas, a monotype is a single, unique print.  Hess’s monotypes in this exhibit were all inspired by the Outer Cape, a place she has known and loved for over forty years, first as a summer visitor, and now as a part year Wellfleet resident.

Hess is inspired by the Outer Cape’s often dramatic and constantly changing light, clouds, wind, and tides. As a plein air watercolor and oil painter as well as a creator of monotypes, she sees and aims to capture the effects of these changing conditions on colors, shapes and shadows in the marshes, dunes and shorelines of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. 

Hess was first introduced to monotypes in the 1980s, but only recently turned to this medium as another way to translate her perceptions of the Outer Cape into art.  Now, in addition to seeking out views that inspire her to paint on location, she has her eye out and her camera ready to shoot scenes that may later inspire monotypes. These she tends to create in the winter months that are less conducive to outdoor painting, and which require a printing press.

Using a photo as reference, and recalling the feeling of the scene, Hess paints on plexiglass with small brayers, or rollers. She often layers colors of the oil-based inks, which tends to create some translucency in the final works.  She also makes shapes and marks with the rollers and their edges. Given the difference in her tools and methods, her monotypes tend to be looser and more abstract in style than her watercolors and oils.

From the painting on plexiglass, and using a printing press, Hess makes one image on paper. What emerges is to some extent a surprise, as some colors blend and some marks are reshaped. The layers of ink and the sweeping as well as choppy marks of the rollers evoke shifting clouds and sands, and hint at the depths and constant movement in the skies and seas. These works on paper are evocative of the scenes that inspired them – fleeting views of the Outer Cape’s distinct and beautiful landscape.

Catherine Hess (b. 1954) has lived in upstate New York, the Boston area, and now in Alexandria, Virginia in the winter months, and Wellfleet the rest of the year.  She studied art in college and in community courses and workshops. She is a longtime member of the Art League in Alexandria and since 2014, has regularly been juried into monthly shows, and as a result is a member of its Gallery 75, showing her work there year round. She also has exhibited in both open and juried shows throughout the metropolitan Washington, DC area, and last year participated in a group exhibition in Maryland of figure paintings.

On Cape Cod Hess has been a member and exhibited at the Creative Arts Center of Cape Cod, the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. She has participated in After Hopper and Outermost Inspirations exhibits of the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA. In March-April 2018 she is included in Artists and Muses, an exhibit at Barnstable Town Hall of figure painters working together at the studio of Paul Schulenburg, a well-known Cape artist. More of her work can be seen at

Earlier Event: February 28
Carol Fitzsimons: Fiber Images