Cathleen Gordon's work is inspired by the visual representation of mathematics, Constructivist design aesthetics, and classical subject matter. Most recently, the book, Visual Complexity, Mapping Patterns of Information, by Manuel Lima piqued her interest in visually representing the paths and coordinates of human behavior. After spending a great deal of time contemplating a wide array of network diagrams she begin to experiment with drawings that used pathways and intersections with each coordinate representing a person, encounter, event, or transpiring moment in her life. The lines soon became a metaphor for the transience of life and our connectivity to one another.
As the mapping project evolved she began to consider using found and discarded materials in conjunction with the diagramming to represent a human presence, uniting the mathematical with the tangible. The artwork creates a bridge of human existence conjoined with the visual complexity of encoding. To find a voice in which the philosophical aspects of the work could possibly compete with the cartography of the networks, Gordon looked back to Dutch Baroque still life paintings. In order to reinterpret the classical still life genre into a modern form she focused on individual objects rather than a grouping and painted them on surfaces that have been physically touched by a human hand.
The following people have greatly inspired, mentored, or guided Cathleen Gordon's artistic journey (some have done all three): Alberto Giacometti, El Lissitsky, Sophie Calle, Cal Mahin, Michelangelo, Kurt Schwitters, Annette Messager, Joseph Cornell, Joanne Harwick, Caravaggio, and Beck.