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Katherine Edwards McCubbin

Katherine Edwards McCubbin’s art practice explores the human condition  and our connection with nature’s ephemeral, yet enduring cycle of life, death, and renewal. Her work begins with journal drawings, many of which become studies for larger scale oil paintings, and arranged around such topics as female anatomy, botany, animals and domestic exotica. Antiquity and ancient cultures inspire her work, particularly alchemy and mytho-poetic ideas.

Katherine has a unique take on the world around her. A face, ethereal and evocative, emerges from an atmospheric swirl of brushstrokes. A flower blooms as a constellation in the foreground, and the sense of peering into both a microscope, and upon the entire surface of the planet, merges into a playful symphony of spots, dots, & daubs. Welcome to the world of Katherine Edwards McCubbin. A mid-career artist making her emphatic statement, in her own very personal visual language.

Katherine’s pictures combine, gestural marks of reduced colour, into mythic apparitions, a product of a lifetime of dreaming and exploring the world of interiors, and the broader world of exteriors. Within that exchange of spaces, she has found the ethereal, the ambiguities, and the suggestion of so much more.

Exploring and day-dreaming in her early years, the shape, light, and tropical urban wilderness of Sydney’s North Shore on her doorstep – developed her artistic appetite. Winding pathways beside the water, lined with tropical floral explosions fashioned her impression of the sublime – from the microscopic to the grandiose, none of this being accidental. An 8 week artist residency in Rome in 2017 broadened her understanding of ruins, fragments and the eternal.

“Alchemy”, continues my preoccupation with water and nature, especially Italy’s Baroque water fountains and sculptures – the catalyst for the subject matter of these paintings. I carry my small sketch journal when travelling, and later transform these studies into paintings back in my St Kilda studio.”

A continuum of the early Women Colonial Painters, who recorded the shape and texture of flora in journals, as well as the broader tradition of European art. A blending of the Romantic tradition and the Surrealist, of composition with figures…hints of Classicism. The time spent in Rome and working as an art student broadened her understanding of ruins, fragments and ancient history; a sense of timelessness and those objects that endure. Katherine collects fragments, shell, feathers, stone, shards of pottery, modern and ancient and uses these objects to inspire the embrace of ethereality, beauty and the female form.  It’s an expression of what she sees, and those things that she cannot see. To physically understand the presence, those echoes through time, captured and conveyed in paint.

She expresses atmospherics, via the nuance of paint, applied to canvas, as in water, a fluidity of brushstrokes. Of objects, figurative and portraiture in a state of flux, an amniotic fluid of thought and creation. A very female perspective, as against the grandiose and the emblematic.

Solo Exhibitions

2024 “Alchemy”, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne

2022: “Feminisms 1974-2022” Group show, George Paton gallery, Melbourne

2016 – to present, Guest Curator, Mission To Seafarers, ANL Maritime Art Prize

2019, Group Summer Show, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne

2018 (Jan 17- 3 Feb): Solo exhibition, “Feminam Plantarum” Rubicon Ari gallery, Melbourne

2017: Group show, FRANFEST poster exhibition, Ace Open Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide

2017, Group show, 550 Swan St Gallery

2015-2017, Womens Art Register, committee member

2015: International Conference of The Image, University of Berkeley, San Francisco, Presentation of Masters Research Project “Body of Water”

2015: F-Word What is Feminism? Group show, George Paton gallery, Melbourne

2015: Masters Completion Seminar presentation, Founders Gallery, Elizabeth Murdoch Building

2015: Solo show, “Body of Water”, Brightspace gallery, Melbourne

2014: VCA Travel Grant for Rome field research trip & Rome Art Program residency

2011: Carnival, Jinks Creek Gallery, Gippsland, Victoria

2010: Finalist Brunswick Street Gallery Works On Paper Prize

Additional Info

Education: 2015: Completed Master of Fine Arts, Victorian College of the Arts 2013: Australian Postgraduate Scholarship Award Research (APA), Master of Fine Arts by Research, Victorian College of the Arts 2001: Bachelor of Design degree (First class Honours), Exhibition/Interior Design, Swinburne University, Melbourne winner of Design Award for honours thesis

Selected Works

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