17 August – 3 September 2011: Catherine Pilgrim


Gallery 2

‘Widow Series’ explores the fear spiders inspire in people via detailed representational drawings captured in negative space.

The widow spider is renowned for eating her partner after they have mated, while this is an accurate description of the widow spider’s behaviour it does not happen in every instance.

Spiders conjure fear in a person that is more profound for some than others. The small, patient, often concealed, and sometimes aggressive spider can be a metaphor for hidden dangers, emotional or physical as well as more socially based environmental threats. In this series of works Catherine Pilgrim has been inspired by the cultural understanding of danger and explores the fear spiders inspire in people. These detailed representational drawings in the negative space on white paper and white wall look almost too real for some, an element of discomfort or curiosity is evoked.

For those with a fear of spiders, there is an urge to kill even the most harmless variety.  As an essential part of our eco-system, or a ‘necessary evil’ to be tolerated, the menace the spider brings is powerful and real.

The spider has also been used as a positive character represented in the superhero, first created in 1933 Spiderman is an icon that rescues people from peril and danger and defends the world from evil. Could it be said that the writers of Spiderman have used fiction to create an antithesis of fear?

In making images of spiders Catherine Pilgrim examines fear in its most fundamental form. Catherine Pilgrim is about to complete her Masters of Fine Art (Research) at Monash University. She has exhibited in a number of group shows and solo exhibitions around Australia since 1994, her collections include the National Gallery of Australia and Geelong Regional Art Gallery.