An exhibition of new paintings by Kay WalkingStick entitled American Landscape – arresting scenes of the rugged, brilliantly colored mountains, mesas, arroyos and canyons of the nation’s West, many of the pieces overlain with designs created by its original inhabitants – is currently being shown at the June Kelly Gallery and will remain on view through May 14.
WalkingStick has been painting landscapes throughout her career. “Expressive landscape as metaphor or symbol” was an early focus, she says, just as it was for another painter of similar subjects, Georgia O’Keeffe. WalkingStick’s later images have come to include history, geography, and specific place. In this current body of work the artist appears to direct her eye to the landscape itself while she preserves images, forms and concepts she found valuable in her earlier concentration.
In her blending of the abstract with the more literal, WalkingStick gives us a harmonious but spare vision of the quiet dignity of the landscape, a straightforward dispassionate outline of contours, and expressive sensual brushstrokes. Time and space are isolated against this austere landscape, which she reduces to three horizontal bands of land, mountain and sky.
WalkingStick’s characteristic aesthetic recreation of the natural world in semi-abstract
geometric forms that captures the awesome architectural grandeur and sensuality of nature’s organic shapes. Her confident handling of light and shadow contributes to the exceptional pictorial power and intensity that provide much of the poetry of WalkingStick’s view of the landscape.
WalkingStick paints with sensitivity and assurance to convey what she refers to as the “truth of the subject” and the emotional experience. Through her loose, exuberant brushwork, her use of color and expressive line, she creates a mood and a sense of the vastness of the land and the mountains.
WalkingStick lives and works in New York City. She holds a BFA from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College), Glenside, Pennsylvania, and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
WalkingStick was awarded the prestigious Lee Krasner grant for 2011 from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. In 2003, she received the Distinguished Artist Award from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, and in 1995 she won a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting. She also is a recipient of the National Honor Award for Achievement in the Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art, and a Visual Artist Fellowship in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been a visiting artist and lecturer at Skowhegan, and also had a residency at the Rockefeller Conference & Study Center, Bellagio, Italy.
WalkingStick’s works have been shown in many one person and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. She is represented in major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California; The Newark Museum, New Jersey; Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian, Washington, DC; The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa.