Cathy Corcione captures on canvas a dreamlike look at a life spent in and around water.
Cathy is a swimmer. Water is her element but while it is not always the main subject of her work it seems to flood most of her paintings with a soft edged mist. She doesn't hit you with white capped waves but with more of a rippling swell so there is a moody, gently diffused light on her scenes.
Saying Cathy is a swimmer is quite an understatement. Cathy was one of the youngest in the US Olympic swim team in 1968 in Mexico City and then competed in the 1973 World University Games in Moscow winning gold and silver. She is the only female swimmer in Princeton history to have won an individual NCAA title.
She has been a swim coach for 26 years, her team being the Central Jersey Aquatic Club (CJAC). Most of her non painting time is spent in or around water so it is little wonder that her paintings have that subaquatic feel. And, yes, she occasionally paints in watercolor but most of her work is acrylic on canvas. Her initial love of graphic design and pattern has been softened, as if she has taken real life and shrouded it in subtle colors, smudged the edges and given it a mystique which reminds you of the view from underwater.
Cathy is prolific. When she paints she seriously produces, often working on more than one piece at a time, adding layer upon layer of tone on tone to bring to the surface a glowing diffused color just hinting at the underlying hues reminding one of looking into a cool, moving, cleansing pool.
How did this happen, this marriage of art and sport? From Long Branch High School, Cathy went on to graduate from Princeton with a BA in Art History. She loved art, producing it and studying it, but her talent as a swimmer cut into her studio time. Later, when she decided to paint in earnest, she combined the two worlds beautifully.
“The majority of my most complex memories are of being around water, “ Cathy explains, “It can be comforting, terrifying ….” Her time at Princeton was “pretty intense” she says, and she draws from her art history background, consciously or unconsciously, in every painting. She put in studio time there but also developed her use of color along the way. She says of the process “I keep going, adding more layers, achieving more nuances, until I am satisfied. It feels like I am pulling memories out of myself.”
Not to overdo the water metaphors but Cathy herself seems to be always moving and free flowing. Her son and two daughters are artists, and Cathy learns from them too, a stream of ideas and opinions (coaching not criticism, she insists) that keep her work fresh.
She is the interior designer's dream with her broad catalogue of work, a contemporary feel and a color palette which is subtle and attracts and intrigues. Not a bad way to view the world.
Cathy's work is on view in the Main Street Gallery in Manasquan and the gallery at 50 Church Street, Little Silver. Cathy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org