Katharine West is an artist who works primarily in clay. Central to her work are phenomena associated with nature: landscape, seascape and the human body. Archetypal form as it relates to our collective past and memory is exploited in her work, through connections such as artefact, object, process, function, form and material.
Her work is made in series. Each series continues to exploit established concerns in the work such as the resonance of the object, its matter, its fluidity and the tension between its internal space and external form, within the context of the malleability of the material; clay. The objects play with space, light, form and illusion. They contain air and question the solidity of the object itself.
The concepts of the ’Link’, the ‘Loop’ and the ‘Spindle’ are explored both physically and metaphorically. The notion of the ‘Lacuna’ as an internal space, or suspended void is played with through a series of pieces called ‘Earthed Matter’ and ‘Suspended Matter’.
The works entitled ‘Extended Matter’ begin to explore the concept of the folds or ‘pleats of matter’ in the context of the ‘The Fold’ by Gilles Deleuze. The writing in ‘The Fold’ is interpreted as visual language and sentences such as these have inspired and created a context for this ‘Matter’ series:
‘Matter tends to spill over into space, to be reconciled with fluidity at the same time fluids themselves are divided into masses’.1
‘Extended Matter’ connects the inherent malleability and fluidity of the material with physical possibilities that become almost geological in nature:
‘Matter thus offers an infinitely porous, spongy, or cavernous texture without emptiness, caverns endlessly contained in other caverns: no matter how small, each body contains a world pierced by irregular passages, surrounded and penetrated by an increasingly vaporous fluid, the totality of the universe resembling a ‘pond of matter in which there exist different flows and waves’. 2
Katharine West is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland, The School of Decorative Arts, Strasbourg France and the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, USA.
She lectures in Ceramics at the Centre for Creative Arts and Media at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and makes work from her studio in Roscahill, County Galway, Ireland. Katharine West is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.
Her work can currently be seen in ‘Shadow of Sodeisha’ at the National Museum, Collins Barracks and in ‘Touchstone’ at the Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park. Katharine West is represented by the NAG Gallery, Dublin: www.nagallery.ie
1: Gilles Deleuze Gilles, 2006, The Fold, London, Continuum, page 4
2: Gilles Deleuze, 2006, The Fold, London, Continuum, page 5