KATHRYN STATS - MORE ON ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS
ONE OF MY FAVOIURITE ARTISTS
Even though one can identify her paintings from across the room, the defining characteristics of Kathryn Stats’ work are not easy to isolate. Her subject matter ranges from the roses that crowd her backyard to the snow in the nearby mountains. The southern Utah red rocks and northern Utah farmland are often subjects for her intricate compositions, which often defy the rules, but magically, always work. However, it’s most often her treatment of light that draws you to her work. The red rocks of southern Utah glow in the sunlight and turn mysteriously somber in the shadows. Sage and alfalfa fields are rich enough to seem almost fragrant, as are her brilliant flower studies. Her skies are filled with the promise of the reflected light below, which is always precisely located to make the composition work. “I love the fall,” she says. “The low angle of the sun lights the bottoms of the changing leaves with colors that really set me free.”
It is that freedom that makes her work so enjoyable. Her love of color, her unerring sense of proper light and her skillful brushwork make her strong, deliberate paintings feel effortless.
Born in Idaho in the mid-1940s, Kathryn Stats has lived most of her life in Utah. Though her family moved often during her childhood, she spent her teenage summers in Kaysville, Utah, with her grandmother--the sister-in-law of the famous Utah landscape painter LeConte Stewart. Surrounded by the rural landscape outside and his wonderful paintings in the house, it isn’t surprising that Kathryn would eventually start to paint. In her late twenties, living in Brazil with her husband and children, she began a career that has been both successful and gratifying. Her earliest lessons came from the books of such painters as Emil Gruppe and John F. Carlson. She later studied with Utah artists Ken Baxter and Frank Erickson.
Her floral studies and the distinctive landscapes that have become the hallmark of her work are in private and public collections worldwide. She has also garnered numerous awards from the growing list of exhibitions in which she has shown her work. Her most recent awards include “Award of Excellence” and “Artist’s Choice” Horizon Gallery, Jackson, Wyoming, 2004; “Purchase and Merit Award” Springville Museum of Art, April Salon, 2003; “People’s Choice” and “Artist’s Choice” awards, Rising Star Juried Invitational, Wickenburg, Arizona, 2002; “Best Oil” in the Maynard Dixon Country Invitational, Mt. Carmel, Utah, 2002; “Purchase Awards” Desert News Art Show, 1983 and 2000; and “People’s Choice Award” Merrill Johnson Gallery, Denver, Colorado, 2001.
"I think a good painting is like a good musical composition." Kathryn states, "It has harmony and rhythm, contrast and theme, sometimes even soloists. Those elements rarely just occur in a natural landscape. I find that I emphasize with detail and color, omit some things, mute others, even rearrange elements to create a composition that conveys my visual experience, my joy, to the viewer. It is this challenge that keeps me painting."
"The reason you keep doing it ---painting every day --- has to do with the viewer. You want the viewer to experience the same joy you feel---and nature sometimes makes it hard. So it’s a process of adjusting, of emphasizing, softening, even omitting, to make what you paint convey the right message to the viewer. Sometimes it’s a long process---other times the problems are easy to solve---but always---it’s a joy.