01 Spirited Repose, 02 Strong Lace, 03 Growing, 04 Saturated Bliss, 05 Colorfield Green, 06 Still from 2005 video interview by Thomas G. Henry, 07 Altered Detail Magic Ride © Catherine Rutgers 2021
Excerpts from the Interview by Cara Patterson for Pulse Magazine, Visual Art 10.13.05 (Catherine Rutgers, Prints at Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, Poughkeepsie, New York, October 13–November 19, 2005)
Ever since the exhibit BitStreams hit the Whitney Museum in 2001, digital art seems to have gained mainstream acceptance. In a review of that event, Mark Stevens, art critic for New York magazine, wrote, “Given the limitless opportunities for unexpected and fantastic combinations, many digital artists have a strong surrealist bent.” That certainly could apply to Catherine Rutgers, whose pieces, though grounded in their use of everyday objects, take on an otherworldly character once they’ve been scanned into the computer.
For many digital artists, a piece begins on the computer screen. This is not the case for Rutgers, whose original source is often a collage of paint and natural objects on canvas, which she then digitizes with image capture, or high-resolution scan. Both Saturated Bliss and Growing began with a 15 by 15-inch, mixed-media canvas featuring spray paint and ailanthus leaves, two significant motifs for the artist.
The leaves and spray paint illustrate the influence of her urban environment. Rutgers was living in the South Bronx in the 1980s, a decade in which graffiti art began to flourish and gain respect in the arts community. Appreciation for this led her to experiment with spray paint, which now fills the shelves of her studio in dozens of shades.
Spirited Repose highlights the dreamlike, meditative quality of her work. The source material included silkscreen, spray paint, and glue, which provided pattern and texture as it dried over the years. Rutgers says the interpretation is open to the viewer. Indeed, it’s evocative enough to encourage viewers to see many different images within it. After working in the publishing industry for  years, her responsibilities gradually merged to include both the editorial and the artistic side. She fell in love with creating digital images and says it makes her feel “enchanted.” Given the colorful, otherworldly nature of her prints, it’s a feeling she’s likely to communicate to her viewers. §
There is also a video! By Thomas G. Henry for Hudson Valley Vlog. I say such things as “It comes around like infinity. You start with this little slice of lemon, changing to blue, fooling with the colors, and opening it up. And then, all of a sudden, you have a vast sky. I love that. That’s very exciting to me.”
The fully illustrated price list was created by yours truly and offered some advice that still holds: This work is designed to provide many years of refreshing discovery. The materials and techniques have been chosen and applied with care. For the greatest longevity, place prints away from direct sun and fluorescent light. Cheers always! Cat