Catherine Repko:Down to the River
Signed on reverse
Oil on linen
47 1/4 x 71 inches
Drawing inspiration from childhood memories of her own three sisters and numerous cousins, Repko’s work is imbued with memory, intimacy and nostalgia. These elements are fused with an insightful view of universal female experience, primarily of sisterhood, motherhood and identity.
The composition in Down to the River (2021) is closely cropped. Depicted are three female figures who stand, bodies overlapping and reaching for one another, against a wall of frenetic blue brushstrokes that evoke the titular river.
Of her latest works, Repko states, ‘this year, the studio became filled with cheap print-outs of the pixelated faces of my three sisters, faces from different angles, photographs of us together, now as women: embracing, hands held, fingers intertwined – a deep connection, empathy, love and history. Thinking about the space between us now, as adults, how we support each other and what these female relationships mean to me, I began painting.’
Repko makes these deep connections and support structures visible through the application of paint. Rendered in a reduced and earthy colour palette, the three figures in Down to the River exist, intermingled with one another, in a shallow and dreamlike space. Made of the same palette of warm terracottas, bodies converge and overlap. The three become one, energy flowing through limbs and outstretched fingers. Here, Repko deftly maps the physical and psychological spaces occupied by these three women, whilst evoking the nature of memory, shared histories and familial connection.
Catherine Repko was born in the US in 1990. She completed a foundation in Art and Design at Chelsea College of Art in 2010 before obtaining a BA in Visual Communication from the University of Brighton in 2013. She is currently undertaking an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art.
Repko’s current practice explores the relationship between the artist and her three sisters. Intimate and poignant, Repko’s work examines familial bonds, identity and humanity, examining both the literal and figurative space between sisters – through time and distance, childhood to adulthood.
Repko is the recipient of The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation in 2020 and the Triangle Network Fellowship from The Arts Council England in 2016. She lives and works in London.