I’m not sure what I’d do without Katie. You see, when she’s around, I can’t help but get over myself. We artists are a funny bunch. Ego’s, feelings, funny little patch protecting ways of being. Put a few of us together on an island and all sorts of weird community snitchyness can start to fester. Add Katie to the mix though and it all smooths out. She has a way of getting us corralled, of getting us past our own sense of ‘fairness’ and best of all, getting us a much better Island to live on. Art-wise that is. She’s on the board of our community gallery, she rallies the Artmap and the Winter Arts Festival.
What, indeed, would we do without her?!
Quite apart from her work in the community, Katie is one of the few artists I’ll take critical advice from. I’m in awe of her technical ability, and simply put, I love her paintings. She works in the way of the old masters, bringing light to life on canvas. My favourite are her oversized fruit. But you don’t have to go far to see that her subjects are simply her muse.
Colour, form + light are the truth of her work.
Us Kiwi’s can get so over excited about the legend or story in artwork that we forget to appreciate colour, form and light for its own beautiful sake. Katie, on the other-hand doesn’t forget for a second. She claims it’s because of her american heritage. At art school in Philly, where she studied in the 80’s, a more traditional focus on painting was taught. Asked if the way kiwi’s sort of dismiss traditional painting frustrates her, Katie says she is totally unfazed. Instead of getting pissy about what simply is, she instead gets busy helping people understand why they like a piece of art. “Sometimes people don’t know why they like something and I aim to help make them comfortable”. It sort of sums her up: always making the world better for people.
In the winter, ours anyway, Katie pops over to the states to her annual (highly sort after) exhibition. She enjoys a far higher level of appreciation over there. That might not faze Katie, but it irks me. I want to slap kiwi’s who can only appreciate art that imbibes a narrative. What’s happened to us? Can we not feel stirred by simple beauty? By light? By a masterful painting? Okay, I’m going to stop here before I start to rant.
The one word I want to leave you with in respect to Katie is, well, respect. Respect for her ability as an artist. For her commitment to her community. For the way she gets on with how the world is and puts her attention of how she can add (please, I want to be more like that).
So much respect Katie. A deep thank-you for moving to NZ and being so gracious with it.