Catherine McGuiness & Diane Pirotta

My Parents Always Called me a Possum | 2024

Catherine McGuiness, Kookaburra (68 x 38), 2024, leather, pyrography, waxed thread and acrylic on linen.  Courtesy the artist and Studio A
Catherine McGuiness, Kookaburra (68 x 38), 2024, leather, pyrography, waxed thread and acrylic on linen. Courtesy the artist and Studio A
My Parents Always Called me a Possum. @ Railway Station
Catherine’s textile work is made in collaboration with Diane. Both in idea and process. Diane shared stories about local wildlife including possums and Catherine found her own connection describing how her parents always called her their little possum’. And so was born a series of animal inspired textile portraits featuring Catherine’s graphics and sparkly embellishments with Diane’s stitched leathers and skins. Following the Rylstone based residency the two artists kept their textile conversation going by posting the work between Sydney and Kandos.


Catherine (b.1986) is a multidisciplinary artist who has been commissioned and exhibited by some of Australia’s most prestigious art institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydney and Australian Design Centre. Catherine has thrice exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW, twice in the Archibald Prize (2022, 2023). In 2024 Catherine will have a joint solo show at Mosman Art Gallery with fellow Studio A artist Damian Showyin, curated by Shan Turner-Carroll. Her works are held in numerous collections including UNSW. Diane Pirotta is a Wiradjuri woman based in Kandos. “My artwork is more cultural than contemporary,” says Di of her practice which reflects the culture, land and rivers of the Central West in NSW, where her people are from. Di camps out at the location of a landscape so she can feel the natural connection to Country by the river, with the native flora and fauna around.


Catherine: I am a fearless and frenzied creative. In any one of my pieces, a hundred marks and overlaps sit beneath my signature. In painting, Catherine is constantly scraping, wiping out, and flooding the canvas with colour. On the page, I uses acrylic and Posca to draw shimmering webs of dots and lines. Sometimes a bird or bridge takes shape - other times, I give myself over completely to abstraction. My involvement in Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop (2020), a largescale mural for the Art Gallery of NSW, was a major coup as an emerging artist. Diane Pirotta: My art practice is multidisceplenary, with works on canvas, wood, paper or skins. I am a possum skin cloak maker using a traditional herringbone stitch to sew the skins together, and burn the stories onto the skins with pyrography. My paintings and drawings are acrylic, charcoal, watercolour or inks and my sculptures are made of hebel, with stained glass mosaic. My weaving materials are grown in my home garden and foraged locally so I always have access to natural materials. My artwork is more cultural than contemporary.

Materials | mixed media with possum skin and leather
Location | Railway Station