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  FINE ART:  Painting,  Mixed Media
  Kate Buckelew
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In my most recent series (page 1), I combine painting, drawing and collage to examine childhood, both its hazards and its fervent idealizations. I populate my pieces with characters and props drawn from my own childhood memories, reproducing and patterning them into broader, nearly abstract structures.  Through these characters I explore the difficult passage into maturity and greater self-understanding.  A sense of fun brings levity and humor into the finished artworks.

The "Nudes" (page 2) are a playful exploration of juxtaposition and scale.  Seemingly random, unrelated objects from nature and daily life are replicated around a central figure, who remains oblivious to them.  Their sizes are are disproportionate to the figures, either too large or too small.  By virtue of sharing the space of the canvas, the objects form an unlikely relationship to one another and to the figure.

In my Space Debris series (page 3), my painting is absorbed with the exploration of color relationships using elemental shapes.  I have chosen circles and ovals for their connotation of being feminine yet substantial, possibly even totemic.  I also want to emphasize the juxtaposition of the flat, graphic rendering of shapes with the modeled contours of a shape that appears to have volume, by abutting them next to each other.  I want some shapes to appear to be contained while others flow out beyond the picture plane.  I want some colors to shimmer next to each other in the style of "op art", while others form a more subtle harmony.  As an end result, I am aiming for a bold, simple statement.

In my "Flag" series (page 4), I am playing with the theme of national flags, their flat geometric symmetry and generic symbology. The underlying structure of the painting is formed with stripes, circles and repeated shapes, usually small ovals.  Atop the stripes and circles I layer collages of biomorphic shapes made from cut-up photographs.  I select the photographs from my own family albums - the rejects that are blurry or unflattering.  I choose the photographs for their colors and textures, and do not intend to have recognizable imagery in the final collage.  While I am intrigued by the flatness and geometry of flag design, I take enough liberties with this theme that the final paintings are more a study in color, shape and composition that are they the banners of any fictitious nation.

My painting series "The Snowmen" (page 5) addresses the uncomfortable conjunction of community and isolation.  In these paintings, some of the expressionless figures huddle in groups, but they seem to have no real connection.  Others stand apart.  There is no vitality in their interaction and the mood is melancholy.  I balance the subdued scene on the left with artfully-placed lozenges and flat areas of color to provide relief and some harmony.  I ultimately believe our flawed human existence is a form of perfection.

I have been painting for 20 years, and have a BFA from California College of the Arts.

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