Fall 2019 Artist Feature:
Cathryn Jenkins spent her childhood surrounded by art, as her father was an avid collector and her mother, Fran, is a renowned sculptor and prospector who taught Cathryn about how to work with different types of stone. Growing up Cathryn had no interest in prospecting or geology, but she always excelled in sports and biology. These two passions are evident in her work as she creates larger than life stone sculptures, while highlighting the importance of the physicality of her subjects. With an emphasis on lines and form, Cathryn has created numerous carvings of birds and bears, exposing their graceful power. When asked why she enjoys carving animals, Cathryn explains that “they are beautifully designed. Straight bones and round muscles working together.” The attention to the biological details is what makes Cathryn Jenkins sculptures stand out. There is a science to her art and a level of concentration and understanding which makes the stone come alive.
Some of Cathryn’s most well- known sculptures are her large stone grizzly bears. Growing up in Revelstoke British Columbia, Cathryn has always been aware of bears and the importance of showing them respect. “Grizzlies are wild, and this is their land. There is no need for a union with the bears” she states. Using a variety of stone such as Serpentine, Marble, and Argillite, Cathryn is constantly creating. She can have ten projects on the go at one time, as she claims “I want to do what I want to do. Leaving something and starting something new gives you time to have perspective.”
When Cathryn starts a new sculpture, she begins from the backbone and works down in order to get the sense of the movement of the animal. Using hammers, chisels, and diamond blades, Cathryn has an innate ability to engage with the stone and create an animal with its own unique personality. Although Cathryn loves the process, she admits working constantly in stone can be difficult. “Sculpting in stone is a sport. It involves using the entire body, and that can get hard after a while. The majority of sculptors come from the trades – I came from an arts background.” Cathryn is now doing less stonework and more bronze work. Using foam and clay, Cathryn creates strong lines, and can change the work as she goes along. There is a design element to this style which Cathryn says is a nice change from the unforgiving nature of the stone.
Cathryn has been represented by Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont for the past twenty- five years. Working with Mountain Galleries has allowed Cathryn the freedom to continue to build bigger and more intricate designs as she says “Wendy allows me to create large sculptures and finds a way to make it work- which is something you want from an art dealer - there is no ceiling on what I can do.” Cathryn is incredibly grateful for the strong support she has received throughout her career, especially from her mother Fran who is currently living in a care home in Vancouver. Cathryn frequently takes her to studios, foundries, and tool shops as a reminder of her passion.
Cathryn’s work can be found at all four Mountain Galleries locations, and in private and commercial collections worldwide.
Written by Christine De Brabandere, Assistant Curator at Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont, Jasper