born in Vallee Lourdes, Kanada
1983 - 1987
Bath Academy of Art
1988 - 1991
Central Saint Martins School of Art, London
Slade School of Art, London
"Tell it like it is", Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
"After You", Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels (B)
"The Air that I breathe", Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
"Düsseldorfer Perspektiven", Galerie Ilka Klose, Würzburg (G)
"The Land of Kubla Khan", Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
"Es werde Dunkel! Nachtdarstellungen in der zeitgenössischen Kunst", Kunstmuseum Mülhein (G)
Solo show at "The Solo Project", Basel (CH)
„Es werde Dunkel! Nachtdarstellungen in der zeitgenössischen Kunst“, Städtische Galerie Bietigheim-Bissingen und Städtische Galerie Kiel (G)
„Kunstdialog in gemeinsamer Bewegung“, Museum of Art, Wuhan, China (G)
"Getting Used to the 21st Century", Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
"Midnight Oil", solo show at Institut Francais de Cologne, Köln
"Neue Malerei. Aus dem Museum Frieder Burda Baden-Baden", Museum und Galerie im Prediger, Schwäbisch Gmünd (G)
„Neue Malerei“, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden - Baden (G)
„Killing Time“, Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
Gallery Thomas Cohn, Sao Paulo (Brasil)
Guidi & Schoen arte contemporanea, Genua (I)
“Dreams are my Reality”, La B.A.N.K., Paris (F) (G)
“Pencil”, Carter Presents, London (GB) (G)
Centrum Kunstlicht in de Kunst, Eindhoven (NL) (G)
Galeria Mario Sequeira, Brago (P)
Galerie Jahn, Landshut
“Twenty-four Seven”, Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
Airport Gallery, Frankfurt a. M.
„Absolute Tourism“, Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
Galerie Jahn, Landshut
„Friends & Relations“ Galerie Hohmann, Hamburg
„Malerei und Photography“, Kunstverein Gütersloh (
„Crossing“, Galerie Herzzentrum, Völklingen
„Zukunft Malerei“, Galerie von Tempelhoff, Karlsruhe
„Gibt es eine weibliche Ästhetik?“, Kulturförderverein Hirschberg
Goethe Museum, Düsseldorf
„Exneuron“, Malkasten Düsseldorf
„Far too close“, Leimener Kunstverein (with N. Nüssle)
„Junge englische Kunst“, Ascherslebener Kunstverein
Participation in international art fairs
Art Brussels (B)
Art Cologne (D)
Arte Fiera Bologna (I)
Art Frankfurt (D)
Art Rotterdam (NL)
Toronto Art Fair, Toronto (CAN)
Turning Insides Out
Further Notes on the Work of Kate Waters
By Gerhard Charles Rump
It is one of the great misconceptions to think that the impressionists really caught a momentary impression of nature and recreated it on canvas. Nobody can paint so fast to achieve that. The movement of the sun across the sky is much too swift, the situation of light and shade changes much too soon for any artist to reproduce a single moment. What the impressionists put on canvas were images representative of an impression, but composed of momentary recognitions and cognitive experiences. Their paintings constitute documents of visual experience, and that is what made their art so different from that of their predecessors. The impression lies in the eyes of the beholder, initiated by a certain way of painting, which stresses the interaction of light as colour and the painterly abbreviation of figural representation. Impressionism is painting, the production of images, not an attempt at recreating real moments like snapshot photography.
It is a great danger of every period to interpret the artistic past in terms of new, modern experience. So Carl Justi, a great art historian of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries in Germany, saw Velázquez's work with eyes overwhelmed by the experience of impressionism, which misled him. Velázquez may be judged to be the greatest painter in history, but he was far from anything like impressionism. Eye-deceiving techniques of painters like Velázquez, in whose work a dry stroke of black with the brush will appear like black see-through silk, or, as it were, Rembrandt, where the reflection of light turns, if seen at close distance, just to be a dot of yellowish white oil paint, should not be mixed up with any artistic -ism. They had a different starting point and different goals, their way of thinking was completely different, which doesn't devaluate their contribution to the history of art at all. It is only that we should try to do them justice - and not only to them, but also to the others, like the impressionists.
If we so say that it is the visual that counts, we must also do justice to the great and impressive work of Kate Waters. Of course she uses photographs for her paintings. Franz von Lenbach (1836-1904) and Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) did that. And there is evidence that Edgar Degas did it, too. So the use of photographs as a starting point, be it in a material way or in the way of the angle of vision or both, is nothing new in the history of art. It has long become a commodity. The camera has taken over, at least partly, the rôle of the sketchbook, and quite rightly so in an age that moves so fast that one has difficulties following things happening. For Kate Waters the photographs are just this: A sketch of a situation which is then turned into a painting. She starts with grisailles of the photographic sketch, where first decisions of what to stress and what to subdue (or suppress) are taken, then the colours are painted over the grisaille, and in that process of creating a visual image, further big decisions can be and definitely are taken. Kate Waters doesn't imitate, she creates.
That her paintings are near to the visual experience of photography is the knack: Attracted we are by a very familiar look only to find that we erred and find ourselves in front of the once familiar and again most modern visual experience: a creative visual, a painting. We are confronted with a vast quantity of new creative painting, of fresh yet valuable visual interpretations of the world, of everyday life, of special situations. Like in impressionist paintings, these are carefully composed and, however fleeting the situation caught in the images may appear at first glance, we soon sense that we are entering a world of quiet contemplation, where all movement has come to a halt and where we are kept in admiration of the way all representation turns into painting. The movement of a car in a street at night, something everyone of us remembers rather vividly, is replaced by a visual movement of paint on canvas, and what we know as black night isn't black at all, it has turned blue and still retains the quality of the late hours.
This is different from Velázquez' silk scarf, as the Spanish Old Master was playing a virtuoso painterly trick in a certain context of representation. In Kate Waters painting and its modalities are the subject and the context, but only one of at least two contexts, which are synergetically combined in Kate Waters' work. The other is, just like in the work of all artists, life. There are artists like HA Schult who do not produce paintings but prefer to create images in the heads of people by having their "actions", like placing 1000 life-size sculptures of human figures made from trash on the Great Wall, in front of the Pyramids, or round the Stellisee above Zermatt near the Matterhorn - but still they, and Schult does so too, explicitly stress the point that they are concerned with life. In this way, Kate Waters is part of the venerable tradition of all art.
It may be seen as traditional or elitist to produce canvases, which can be hung on the wall and be looked at any time one wants to. But this is an irrelevant and inadequate argument, as Kate Waters isn't any less progressive as HA Schult, Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola or others. The advantage of an artist like Kate Waters is that she both creates painted images and images in the head. Her images are so strong that they live quite happily inside our heads, inside our memory, and, like anything that's there, they are active, working, and influencing our way of looking at things. The "musée imaginaire" inside or heads is a place humming with activity, and the paintings of Kate Waters have already proven to be some of the most fervent agents in this ongoing process.
Most intriguing are her works which show people in museums, like her painting of Asian visitors in the Louvre in Paris, with "The Death of Sardanapalus" by Delacroix in the background. Not only that the museum has had its rebirth as a subject in contemporary art, it is, as the general subject "people plus art", a traditional motif. Only few masterpieces, however, have been produced which embrace this subject. One of them, albeit slightly different by subject, is Watteau's "Gersaint" store sign (SMPK Berlin), the most recent one by Kate Waters. Kate Waters has turned Watteau inside out: In Watteau's painting the people in the picture turn themselves to the new art offered by the dealer Gersaint (while the old stuff is being packed away) and turn their back to the viewer. Kate Waters' museum visitors turn their back to Delacroix and face the viewer, however without looking at him. But still they look at art, being in the Louvre. The colour scheme is breathtaking: The warm colours are all in the Delacroix in the background, the visitors are in cool blue hues. Oh yes, we see, art is concerned with life, and that on all levels. Could it be that this is a comment on museum visitors? It could. Could it be that it is a comment on the greatness of art and the inherent lifelessness of modern absolute tourism? It could. We do not need answers. In our time, we are happy if we come to intelligent questions.
In her 200x220 cm large, monumental painting "Babes in the Wood" we look at a contemporary garden party. Does Ruth Rendell's novel play a part, or the subject of innocence and guilt? Are we modern people "Babes in the Wood" or not innocent at all? What does it really mean when we inhabitants of large cities try to regain a little of living in nature, of course with all modern amenities, represented by the innocently white plastic garden chair? And the heavily tattooed man in the foreground? Is this a "cross-culture"-subject, or the by-passing glimpse of such phenomena? Phenomena like displacing exotic customs like tattooing - which are deeply rooted in cultural and social traditions in their places of origin - into contexts where they do not have that context but stand out like modish quirks, although they already represent a document of the history of social changes? Tattooing was "imported" by sailors (low on the social scale), was taken up by nobility (especially in France), sank back into the realm of low-class people and petty criminals and whores, only to re-emerge as an element of "beauty"-enhancement with the middle classes and pop stars? You might well ask.
It is one of the intriguing qualities of Kate Waters' work that it raises questions instead of coming up with answers. But her work as such gives an answer to the questions "Why paint?" and "Why paint in such a way?". If we look at Kate Waters' nightly street scenes, often in rainy weather, with all these wonderful reflections of light (like "Via Bergamo, 60x70 cms, 2002, or "The West End", 180x160 cms, 2002, or her monumental "The Underworld", 170x240 cms, 2003) we can only come to one conclusion: The everyday experiences activated in our memory lead to the always new experience of painting.
But there is still more than that. Her scenes of everyday life, at the bowling alley, in a Spanish restaurant, in a street café, they all show us that this world is a stream of images. Arresting this stream if but for a moment, we gain insight into life, just as we did when we read the "stream of consciousness"-type of literature like "Ulysses" or "Finnegans Wale" by James Joyce. But again, Kate Waters has turned such experiences inside out: In "Ulysses" we look into the brain of Mr. Leopold Bloom, and we can, more or less, relate to him. In Kate Waters's images we see what is inside ourselves. And we should relate to that, so help us, well, whoever. Kate Waters, surely.