Catriona Towriss is a self-taught artist, born 1987 in Cambridge, UK. In 2015, she relocated to Cape Town, South Africa for a research fellowship. In 2020, after eleven years in public health research, Catriona Towriss transitioned into full-time artistic practice. She has chosen to remain in South Africa where she is most inspired. Her creative practice is informed by her engagement with human and environmental challenges that was cultivated in her academic training.
Catriona Towriss has worked in different mediums; including found objects from the living environment, printmaking, drawing and painting. Currently creating in sculpture; her most recent work uses tree bark and seeds to uncover nature’s timeless visual language. In the context of the climate emergency, she seeks to explore the nature and interactions of power between human and non-human in the present moment.
My work speaks about human and non-human nature. I create works that mimic the shapes, textures and dynamism of non-human nature, reflecting my desire to uncover a fundamental organic visual language. My work draws attention to the inherent, creative power of nature, while also speaking to the hierarchy and exploitation of non-human nature by human nature.
My sculptural works are created from tree bark and other found objects which I collect and carry into my studio from local trees and forests. There, the materials are dried, cleaned and shaped, ready for assemblage. This slow and labour-intensive process is a visual meditation that familiarises me with the colours, textures and forms of the materials. Further, the process itself mimics the incremental, yet powerful, ways that nature grows and is shaped by environmental processes.