December 2013 Exhibition ‘Jewel’ in the Nolan Art Gallery – opening speech by artist Michaye Boulter
My studio practice is punctuated every 3 months with Kate’s comings and goings. Kate spends 3 months here and 3 months in England. When she is here we work together in the studios just above us.
When Kate arrives it is like she never left, after a brief chat about her latest exhibition in England talk turns to Tasmania. When Kate is here, she is wholly here. She is excitedly tells me about her latest adventure – this time Cradle mountain.
I guiltily think to myself how long it has been since I was last there, but allow myself to revisit it through Kate’s enthusiasm and her vision. And Kate’s vision is a unique journey. The fist full of photographs she holds documenting her travels are hardly the typical tourist shots. Kate’s eye is fresh and unburdened by expectations. She is drawn to the rich life in the understory. She instinctively knows this is a place of immeasurable beauty. Her experience is of joy.
What Kate sees and feels is life’s abundance. How Kate pays homage to that is through an intense exploration of color and abstraction.
Kate has written a beautiful artist statement and I would like to quote a little of what she says, “As well as hidden treasures found on ancient logs, rocks and banks, the open spaces reveal wonderful colors too, from the soft color’s of a multitude of trees and plants, to the play of light on the mountains. The deep apricot of coral fern, bright emerald of water plants, the tussock topaz of button grasses, banks of snow gums, the distant muted blue-green trees and the hazy blue-greys of the cradle Mountain range are a delight to the eye.”
Kate confidently tells us how she sees in terms of color. The result is paintings, which are strong, well-composed, vibrant works of art. And though she works intuitively and passionately it is coupled with a deep knowledge of the history of color theory.
Kate recently told me how she grew up being subconsciously influenced by the art in her grandmother’s Gallery. Much of the work came from artists influenced by the Bauhaus school of art. Famous artists such as Paul Klee worked at the school, developing theories on color and the expression of individuality. Kate could easily have spoken a quote from Paul Klee: “Color possesses me. I don’t have to purse it. It possesses me always, I know it. That is the meaning of the happy hour: colour and me are one. I am a painter”
The Bauhaus had a holistic approach to art, which included design and architecture as much as painting. Like the Bauhaus Kate’s own artistic career grew to include design of objects, jewellery, interior design and of course her greatest love – painting.
I said before that Kate arrived to work with a fist full of photographs- that isn’t entirely true- they are manipulations of photos, strange distortions of landscape that she has worked on her computer. Kate has developed her own process of working. Breaking down the forms to reveal the essence of her chosen subject – to find the hidden colors and shapes – to invite us to see a familiar landscape in other terms, terms of abstraction.
It seems to me that Kate purposely disrupts a traditional reading of landscape, creating flat planes of color instead of meandering paths to distant mountains. I have seen Kate pushing the boundaries of tangible form giving us just enough to lure us in before taking us into her own magical world of color, line and composition.
This is what good art should do – that is – awaken us to seeing the world anew. That is what Kate has given us. And when I finally do get back to Cradle Mountain my experience will be altered and all the richer for Kate’s painting.
I invite you now to trust Kate and enjoy the gift of her journey. Thank You Kate.
Michaye Boulter Dec. 2013