An artist well versed in diverse media, from painting and drawing to printmaking and experimental works, Cathy Osman taught at Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire Colleges before coming to Marlboro. Her perspective on the visual arts, as both a creative and a problem-solving process, ties in well with Marlboro’s approach to liberal studies. “One learns to balance success with experimentation, and work through the discomfort of not knowing,” says Cathy. “This unknowing, as mysterious as it sounds, is critical to the defining elements of art. One must have patience and curiosity for this course of action, which yields not only a tangible object but also skills for engaging in complex thinking and connection to the outside world.”
“My approach to teaching is to encourage students to see themselves as makers,” says Cathy. “The prime skill that we all need in that search is hard work—coming to the challenge of art making each day whether or not one feels inspired, with the goal of acting and thinking at once. Making is thinking.” Critical to Cathy’s teaching is establishing strong foundations for art students. “Although we are in a climate of continual change, a climate in which traditional values in art are in constant question, students need to be given solid skills in perception, close observation and careful analytic thinking.”
Cathy continues to be active in her own studio and present her work in group and solo exhibitions throughout New England and New York. “I make images that gather and reorganize information from nature,” she says. “I like picking up and discarding, weaving and unraveling an image until I am surprised.” Her work was featured in the Winter-Spring 2003 Potash Hill and on the cover of The Massachusetts Review Winter 2003. In recent years she has collaborated with other faculty and students on grant-funded trips to Cambodia and Vietnam, where they participated in service learning projects and shared with local artists and artisans.