Accidental Oxidation

Having lunch with my friend Grace DeGennaro recently, we bumped into a new installation by Maine sculptor and Bowdoin College lecturer John Bisbee at Coleman Burke Gallery -- Bowdoin's exhibition space at Ft. Andross in Brunswick, Maine. Bisbee's installation is a three-part project titled Switch. This segment, Patch, is comprised of interlocking oxidized nail clusters which will eventually evolve as Bisbee transforms to Ridge and finally, Mound.

John Bisbee Switch: Patch Coleman Burke Gallery, Brunswick, Maine

The monumental geometric mass of Bisbee's spikes resting against the wooden floor -- all 10,000 pounds of it -- was definably impacting. Talk about transcending the materials… it looked like a highly organized pile of fall leaves, quietly present in the deserted gallery space. How could this hefty mass settle so easily into and bond with the architectural details of the exhibit?

This is a question of art, and a question of the nature of art that we, as creatives, are continually faced with. Is our art born by chance, or predetermined by other means? How do we know?

The work of my contemporaries, such as Bisbee in this case, is a lever I utilize which forces me to look more deeply into my own process and perspective; to seek a clarity that I must ignore on a day-to-day basis in order to sustain a viable studio practice. Still, the questions do remain.

No, I do not consider my work to be accidental. But I do allow chance to be a factor in my process.
I discover something about myself by moving outside of my comfort zone, such as taking abstract photographs of found objects and random occurrences to keep the concept of possibility fresh and open within me.

John Bisbee Switch:Patch detail

It is a balance between letting go and adhering to principles which I have found to be reliable. Hopefully unhappy accidents occur as infrequently as possible, but they do happen.

Kate Beck Found Object.3.12.07

Letting go is the obvious way to progress. But, is it accidental?

Just have to keep looking….


Honorable Mention
Maine Biennial 2008

Oil,Carbon,Wax on Canvas 10x10 inches


Paler Shade of Gray

This being the inaugural post of my new web blog, I want to open with a shot of brand new 2008 color, Gray.1.3.08 , taken from my front yard in January. The new routine is shooting the morning sky just before daybreak from approximately the same location, at approximately the same time. So why am I compelled to step into these frigid winter mornings -- just out of bed, still in my socks, camera ready? I admit, I've attracted some interest from my husband and my dog. And, I think they are beginning to like it.
My cohort, Fiona Robinson http//:www.fionarobinson.info/
and I have been discussing the grays that we each create and bring to our work. We both adhere to fairly traditional drawing technique and perspective -- a commonality in our painting. Grays are of course a big topic: it is a foundation color of choice, from which we compose all surface and luminosity. Especially Fiona. Her grays tend to range from blues to yellows to reds, I think it's safe to say, while my own are much more neutral and hover in umber-ish territory. My approach is purposely conservative. I am concerned with creating a surface which the eye can easily sustain. That is, look at and 'see' with ease. I want my grays to temp you, persuade you to linger at the surface. When more light is captured within the surface hue and stabilized -- not released back-- I believe it is a purer and more powerful experience. An involuntary incentive for the viewer to experience the painting. This is why I often refer to my work as being performative: I seek to elicit a dynamic, physical response from the viewer. What else is there?
If you still need convincing, take a look at the paintings of Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, which just came down my art feed cyber-pipe from Charlotte Jackson Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico http://www.charlottejackson.com/ Fratteggiani Bianchi hand rubs pure pigment directly onto Italian limestone, creating what appears to be -- from this limited perspective -- incredibly pure-hued paintings. The light is locked into the color on the surface of the stone and very seductive to the eye. My eyes are hungry...