About the Artist

We behold the face of nature bright with gladness.
We do not see, or we forget, that the birds singing
around us live on insects or seeds, constantly
destroying life.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

The interior represents the universe for the private
individual — the living room is a box in the theater of
the world.
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940)

The use of pattern, line work and intricate detail reflect my background both as a textile designer and as a bibliographer of rare books. I have an abiding love and respect for textiles and the decorative arts, which bring dimension, comfort and beauty to our everyday lives, and these objects and patterns are often woven into my narratives.

I work exclusively in gouache on Arches 300lb cold press paper. Gouache is an opaque watercolor that allows me to create a multi-layered, dense and matte finish. Often my images are created by layering 3-7 layers of paper to create dimension and a theatrical aspect. I work in a small format which creates an intimacy with the viewer. The paintings can be held and read like a book.

Birds are represented in art and poetry as messengers, guides, bearers of both glad and tragic tidings. The birds in my ongoing Natural History and Tangled Bank series are not representational depictions, but are creatures of the imagination. I present birds and insects in a stylized, theatrical format because I want to portray glimpses of the largely unseen dramas of the natural world, and explore the way we re-imagine nature–finding beauty and pattern in chaos and wildness–while hinting at the darker dramas behind nature’s comforting, beautiful surface.

In the Imaginary Operas series, with their narratives and implied music, I combine my love of opera with exploring the drama of nature and the mysteries of our place in the natural world. These narratives often include birds, wildly out of scale, interacting with humans, presiding over brief moments of change and transformation.

My new series, Private Lives, is inspired the work of 18th-19th century designers and that era’s scientific voyages of discovery.

Christine Cariati
Hunters Point Shipyard, Building 101 Studio 1307



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