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Kathryn Maple – A Year of Drawings

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Focussing on the extreme environmental situation the world is currently facing, Kathryn’s exhibition Under a Hot Sun is a collection of work created following the artist’s success in the painting prize. The above image is by Kathryn Maple, who is interested in the possibilities mark making and image making provide. She combines densely detailed areas with sparse space forming work that mimics tapestries without using any thread, instead she relies on paint and line. She graduated from Prince’s Drawing School Postgraduate Programme in 2013 and won the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2014. Camille Pissarro, Charing Cross Bridge, London, French, 1830 – 1903, 1890, oil on canvas, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Kathryn’s work is among the 67 paintings selected for the John Moores Painting Prize, currently on display at the Walker Art Gallery until 27 June. Miss Lesbian VII’ (2009) by Zanele Muholi on display at the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool. Image by Robin Clewley. Thank you. Obviously these are not particularly celebratory times but it’s felt so incredible. It’s also felt a bit strange as it’s such a huge prize, and even just to have the painting in the Walker Art Gallery collection alone – that would have been enough! As for my practice changing, no not at all. I guess if anything it’s almost like a bit of a green light to just carry on. Kathryn said: “Since winning the prize I have been able to rent a bigger studio and buy a bit more paint and canvas, which has allowed me to find more freedom in my work. My paintings have certainly reached a few more people and I am excited to have the opportunity to show my recently finished paintings in one space together at The Walker Art Gallery.”The painting resonates with movement and communality and embodies the deeply social nature of humans,” said Michelle Williams Gamaker, one of the judges. “It fills me with hope and longing to be part of this form of connection again.” Because of this ‘Who Decides?’ was curated by service users from The Wallich, a charity which supports those who have experienced homelessness, out of a large selection of paintings, sculptures, films, prints and drawings acquired in the last 10 years by the National Museum of Cardiff and the Derek Williams Trust. A large lunar abacus takes centre stage. A familiar childhood object used for counting now holds hand blown glass moons positioned to mark the lunar phases of 2017. Casting it’s own shadow and reflection in the moon mirror it exists beyond it’s framework; as the audience orbit the space they can’t help but interact and engage. Kathryn Maple, said: “ Under a Hot Sun is my first solo show, it is huge opportunity to show my paintings at the Walker Art Gallery. The Walker has a great permanent collection and I’m in the company of many artists who have inspired my practice. Born 1989 Canterbury, Kathryn Maple lives and works in South London. Graduated from Foundation Diploma, The Arts Institute Bournemouth (2007-2008); Fine Art Printmaking BA, The University of Brighton (2009-2011); and The Drawing Year Postgraduate Programme, The Royal Drawing School (2012-2013).

We are meeting the day after her win. Maple, tall, striking, with a short crop of brown curls, is still “buzzing” and has barely slept since she was told about it. “I went into a cold flurry!” she says. She got so distracted she fell down the steps in her flat, which she shares with her girlfriend, a fellow painter she met while studying at the Royal Drawing School in London. She said: “My studio is not very big at all and I had to stretch the painting at a friend’s studio because I wouldn’t have got it out the door. Maybe with this prize I can think about getting a bigger space.” In 2012 she won the John Moores Painting Prize, and was a runner up for the prize in 2004. Sarah studied at the Royal Academy Schools and the University of Newcastle. She won the Rome prize for painting in 1991, spending a year at the British School at Rome, which made a big impact on her practice. Accompanied by a series of prints made from solar plates there is an emphasis on the comfort in the cadence and repetition of ongoing cycles that both anchor and elude us.’Under a Hot Sun is my first solo show, it is huge opportunity to show my paintings at the Walker Art Gallery. The Walker has a great permanent collection and I’m in the company of many artists who have inspired my practice. Drawing In as a name speaks of the clever and subtle humour of the exhibition as a whole. It refers both to the drawing in of light as we approach the shortest day of the year and to the fact this is the first exhibition to be held at The Tregony Gallery dedicated solely to drawing as a practice. Maple's 2020 painting The Common – which she described as a ‘meeting place, an intersection, people seemingly aware of each other, but minds elsewhere – all sharing an open space' - was chosen from 67 paintings selected from around 3,000 submissions for an exhibition showing at Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery until 27 June. A virtual tour of the exhibition is available here. Her winning painting will be acquired by the Gallery to join its world-class collection, while Kathryn will now also have a future solo exhibition. I feel like people will want to make up for lost time. The idea of a pre-determined single-direction route through a show is something I could imagine working quite well at Walker Art Gallery for instance. I hope it will mean that people spend longer in front of each piece of work, and really take them in. Hopefully, slowing down, not having to rush, just having that one thing to do today, we’re really going to take our time over each piece of work. The themes in Maple's work vary in subject from natural forms, trees and landscapes, to figures and buildings. Often drawn from real life or the artist's imagination, she gives each object, person or setting the same treatment, creating a myriad of painterly textures. The urgency with which she depicts subjects is palpable, and her repetitive strokes and marks give each element of every work a different level of depth and detail.

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