My work is concerned with a notion of transformation that links the material world and the psychological self. Transformative physical environments, such as a lava flows, ice melts and even the slow gnarled growth of a tree, are mimicked in the flow of paints and pigments and make evident this macro/micro relationship. Regardless of climate change the earth has never been still. I am attracted to unusual forms that challenge clichéd notions of what the idea of nature and a landscape is. Whenever I look really closely at the natural environment I am amazed by the things I have never seen before and haven’t really seen depicted before. Many of the titles of my works allude on one level to climate change, but they also just allude to change on a physical, psychological and individual level.
At first glance, artist Kate Shaw is dabbling with a subject painted by artists throughout art history. But Shaw’s landscapes, although recognizable as such, are not mere pictorial representations of polar ice caps and interior Australia. Her spectacularly hallucinogenic paintings remind us of the threat of global warming and environmental degradation. In this sense her subject matter is highly relevant and immediately compelling. The paintings walk a fine line, teetering between pictorial illusion and abstraction, and are a sumptuous mix of contradictions - beautiful yet foreboding, intoxicating yet apocalyptic.
The physical properties of Shaw’s poured paint echo the fluidity of our ever-changing natural landscape. This deft manipulation of paint is the secret to Shaw’s success. Her densely marbled surfaces set against softly air-brushed skies are often encased in high gloss resin and provide an extraordinary sense of depth. She has been described as an alchemist of paint - pouring, spraying, cutting and collaging elements to create her dramatically saturated experiments in colour, tone and texture.
Kate Shaw has exhibited widely including in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney where her shows have often sold out. The recipient of several prestigious art prizes, Shaw was highly commended in the 2007 ABN AMRO Art Award and was a finalist in the Fisher’s Ghost Award, Metro5 Art Award, Robert Jacks Drawing Prize, and Darabin Latrobe Art Award. She has recently completed an artist residency at 24hr Art in Darwin.