Kate Oakley – Canada

As an emerging artist, sometimes pulled in many different directions, Kate Oakley seeks a quiet place in which to retreat and contemplate a single theme: the connection of rust and lichen to the pulse of life.

When developing a concept, she typically begins by combing through digital photographs for ideas, and to identify potential imagery for inspiration and visual direction. Following from her abstract photography, she has been creating large-scale abstract paintings (acrylic on canvas) using bold colours. These create visual movement or sympathetic vibrations on the retina. She focuses on capturing the emotion, energy and sound of jazz music, and painting the visual effects of wind and sound vibrations on objects.

In 2014, she created a series of ten paintings entitled “Windsock” inspired in part by childhood memories of living in Anglesea, North Wales as well as research into the science of wind and its molecular air movement. Her imagination was captivated by the immense and sometimes delicate power that the invisible and intangible elements wield, and speaks to the greater pulse of life.

With the pulse of life concept in mind, an analysis of her photography collection unearthed hundreds of images of lichen and rust. Kate noted that the abstract shapes and colours vary according to the type of stone or metal, and the natural and geographic environment in which they occur. Thinking about the connection between the ethereal and spiritual dimension of humanity and the invisible life force(s) that gives rise to both lichen and rust intrigues her. But the concept needs to be fleshed out. She hopes to do this during her residency at Stiwdio Maelor. She looks forward to hiking, closely examining, photographing, sketching and subsequently painting, abstractions of lichen on craggy rocks and rust on old objects. While doing this, she will reflect on the relationship of the elements to the spiritual pulse of life and, therefore, on her developing voice as an artist.

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