Root and Branch, Catherine McWilliams & Simon McWilliams


Golden Thread Gallery,

84-93 Great Patrick Street
Co. Belfast

Catherine and Simon McWilliams, mother and son artists, present work together in the Golden

Thread Gallery’s Project Space. Taking Betty McCord’s sculpture ‘Rook’ as a starting point, the

exhibition is a conversation about the processes of making artwork with familial connections. Both

Simon and Catherine are interested in the natural environment, with the rook appearing in both of

their works at various points. This connecting motif draws out a combined interest in interpreting

the world around them, whether it’s a goddess emerging from within a tree, bursting with life and

vibrancy or a quiet view out a beautiful window, revealing a riot of colour.

Simon and Catherine display immense technical skill within their chosen media. In painting or

sculpture, they are informed and inspired by the materials with which they work and have both

revisited the subject of trees throughout their individual careers.

Catherine’s tree pieces are evocative of female figures, gods, terrifying in their ferociousness.

Female figures have played a central role in her paintings over a number of decades from the 1960s

to the present day. In moments of transition, the figures metamorphose into Celtic goddesses and

rise above with a sense of joyous freedom.

The cherry tree for Simon might be aligned with his attitude towards paint as a medium. It continues

to flower even as the world around changes, adapting to its environment much as he has introduced

new materials and new techniques into his more recent works.

The McWilliams hail from a family of artists and this history and connection informs and speaks

through their work. They engage with the act of creating in a unique and personal way, using paint

for its endurance through generations and ultimately its versatility. The interpretative power of paint

is core to their work and acts as an additional connector which, as with the images of trees,

continues to provide something beautiful, revelatory and enduring.

Entrance Fee