Cathy Engel-Marder


Artist Statement

I create assemblage objects and mixed media images. I find this form of expression a natural fit because in the studio, as in life, my goal is to bring together the random bits and pieces of my world and transform them into something meaningful.

My work is about pulling dreams into reality and remaining playful in a stressful contemporary environment. I begin each piece with a general concept—a line from a song, an image from a dream—and let the shapes and textures on my workbench guide me from there. Building structure from the inherently random is a universal challenge, which I believe can only be met through curiosity, humor and the willingness to take risks.


2018 – Present    Studies   Sculpture at Santa Monica College Emeritus Program
2017 – Present    Takes mixed media, assemblage and mosaic workshops with a variety of instructors including Michael de Ming, Katherine England, Susan Weschler, Laurie Mika
1999  MSW        University of Southern California, Los Angeles
1980  MA           University of Southern California, Los Angeles
1975  BA            University of California, Los Angeles


Cathy Engel-Marder’s original dream was to become a playwright. After years of designing costumes and sets for the stage, she managed to turn out a single script—a children’s musical titled “The Trouble with Being a Frog.” It was produced in 1981 by the Los Angeles Museum of Craft and Folk Art and won the 1982 USC President’s Award for Student Achievement.

Engel-Marder has earned two masters degrees, which led her first to a career as a Spanish interpreter in the Los Angeles County criminal courts and later as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In her second career, while providing therapy to families affected by violence and trauma, she developed an interest in the relationship between art and healing. She regularly incorporated art-as-process into her work with abuse survivors and others struggling to express themselves in words. She has lived in Spain and has a particular fondness for Barcelona and the people of Catalonia. Now retired, she lives in Los Angeles and devotes her time to travel and mixed media sculpture.

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