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Cathy Barry Connatural Exhibition

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
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January 7 - April 30

The Connatural Exhibition features the work of Ann Arbor artist, Cathy Barry and explores the intersection of art, science, and design.  On display Saturday, January 7 through Sunday, April 30, 2023.  

Artist Statement:

Nature is the big umbrella of what inspires and has always informed my work. Systems in nature – forms and shapes that repeat themselves – and the juxtapositions of manmade forms next to natural areas have long been subjects that draw my interest. I progressed from landscape painting to aerial views, and then astronaut photography from deep space. My most recent work focuses on collecting and referencing biological sources and patterns found in nature. My current practice reflects my urgent concern for the planet. What began as an effort to stop using petroleum-based products, led to making pigments from plants. I am extracting colors from local sources – in the backyard or the grocery store – including buckthorn, cattail, turmeric root, forsythia, beets, mulberry, yellow and purple onion skins. I am experimenting with inlay work of painted paper, traditionally used to create jewelry, furniture, and textiles. I am creating motifs and abstract compositions by cutting shapes from my plant-based paintings, fitting them together and assembling them. Most recently, I have begun to cut and inlay leaves, using the natural colors and markings to create pattern, line and form in my images. I have even been collaborating with leaf miners, using the trails they have left behind as linear elements! I am very excited about this new direction.

large circle with 4 smaller circles inside intersecting with vein-like patterns in muted greens and yellows


circles and vein-like patterns intersecting in muted colors


Artist Bio

Cathy Barry is an artist living and working in Ann Arbor whose creative process is closely tied to nature, plants, and the seasons. Cathy is an instructor at the UM School of Art and Design and the UM Program in the Environment and is very interested in the intersections between art, science, and design.


January 7
April 30


Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
+ Google Map
(734) 647-7600