Sept. 15 2015 03:39 PM

Cathy Breslaw explores physical space in a show at the Mesa College Art Gallery

Cathy Breslaw
Photo by Seth Combs

It's hard not to assume something when Cathy Breslaw says she's fascinated with "space." One could easily mistake her large-scale, mixed-media pieces as some kind of reference to outer space or perhaps a grand statement about intergalactic worlds. That assumption could only be perpetuated by the fact that sculptural pieces like the fantastical "Dreamscape" and the ominous "Sensations" look as if they're topographic renderings of another world.

"I've always had a real and genuine curiosity about space, but mostly the space around us," says the Carlsbad-based artist. "The invisible space and what's in that space. I feel an interconnection with everything and I don't see anything as being separate. That's a driving factor for me."

As heavy as that sounds, the works on display at Macro Views, Micro Wonders, a solo show of recent works at the Mesa College Art Gallery, are still aesthetically pleasing and accessible. For much of the work, Breslaw uses a plastic, almost transparent industrial mesh material she found at a trade show in Taiwan to create holographic and almost hallucinatory effects. Some of the pieces seem to be suspended in mid-air, hovering five inches above the gallery walls as if an illusion. The works have the sensibility of a painter, with sheets of the industrial mesh splayed out like paint strokes, which is probably why Breslaw describes them as "paintings that aren't made out of paint." The aforementioned "Sensations" is a large-scale installation piece that includes a recorded sound piece by artist Francisco Eme. It was inspired by a trip Breslaw took to the Columbia Glacier in Alaska and, coupled with Eme's eerie sounds, the result is both serene and haunting.

"I felt like I had to materialize that experience somehow. Seeing the icebergs break off, it was overwhelming and surreal," says Breslaw, who will be giving an artist talk at the Mesa Gallery on Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. "A lot of my work connects to the natural world. It's very meditative for me. It's awesome, but not the kind of awesome that most people mean when they use that word. Awesome as in sublime."

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