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Interview with Kate Wilson

Kate Wilson is another artist whose work I found via social media. She is Canadian, and her work in drawing, installation, and animations caught my eye because of its authority and integrity, both in its purpose and in its execution. She is currently preparing for a busy summer of multiple exhibitions, so I'm gratified that she took the time to answers some questions about her work and process.

Geometric Sunshine (partial view) Beyond/In Western New York, 2007
acrylic on wall, dimensions variable, University at Buffalo Art Gallery at the 
Center for the Arts. Photo credit: Biff Henrich/Keystone.

Philip Hartigan: Your work looks like a collision between the organic world, chemistry diagrams, and classic abstract art. How does it appear to you?

Kate Wilson: Actually, your assessment is very close. I never know where to begin. It is a matter of placing pen to paper and seeing where the line takes me. Perhaps subconsciously I’m incorporating visuals or text that inspire: my current reading material, chemistry diagrams, botanical and architectural drawings, musical/ sound discoveries, celestial and natural phenomena.
Philip Hartigan: Have you always developed your work with installation in mind?

Kate WilsonIn 2005 I exhibited a multiple series of small drawings on paper at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris. During the opening of Canadian Club a museum director from Denmark suggested and encouraged me to scale up my drawings to room size proportions. The dramatic proportional shift in scale was something I contemplated doing for quite some time but the added impetus inspired me to seriously consider the reality of scaling up my work.
Collages in Motion and Artificial Dreams, ink on paper, study for a large-scale wall drawing, 27 x 35 cm, 2010. Collection: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Philip HartiganHow important to your process is drawing?

Kate Wilson: Drawing is central to my process. It is a visual language, a lexicon, spontaneous, meditative, immediate, direct and based in imagination and memory. I am interested in the profile of line and I use line interchangeably as object and contour. I often refer to my preliminary drawings as small, contained architectures that serve to make the familiar visible and readable in an intentionally new way.
Philip HartiganHow did your animations come about?

Kate Wilson: My animated films are an extension of my large-scale wall drawings. I intend to project my films on a large scale and create immersive animated visual environments.
  1. Curious Lights, ink on paper, 27 x 35 cm, 2011
Geometric Mechanics, ink on paper, 27 x 35 cm, 2012 

Philip HartiganWhat's the single most interesting thing about the creative process for you?

Kate Wilson: The moment of discovery, connecting lines, lines leading to lines, and accidental breakthroughs. The moment of discovery occurs when I lose myself in detail while simultaneously bringing out hidden architectural and botanical environments. I am especially interested in drawing as a continuing process of research – the construction of verbal and visual information systems.
Philip HartiganWhat's your next project?

Kate Wilson: I am preparing for Ecotopia a group exhibition at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, in Ontario, Canada. The curator commissioned a large-scale site-specific wall drawing. Also, I’m working on a second animated film titled A Primer of Small Stars. The film will include an excerpt of one of my sound compositions. I’m already thinking ahead and planning my next animated film based on a new series of geometric drawings


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