Next week on Thursday June 23rd (6-8 pm) my third solo exhibition at Arusha Gallery will open. It will comprise of many paintings and some drawings made during the past two years. There will also be two wonderful supporting essays; one by Amy Hale and one by a collaborator and colleague who is a member of The College of Psychoanalysts. Below you will find a few images together with excerpts from both essays, and a little writing of mine…
Riding My Horse of all the Stars
Self-portrait with blue-seeding bulb
Here is an extract from Amy Hale’s essay:
Kate Walters: Love Paintings
When one imagines the representation of divine, sublime love, one might envision a visual debt to the classical philosophical tradition where love has historically been equated to beauty, to transcendence, to a sort of perfection that can only be ultimately expressed in the immaterial. This perfection of love calls to mind delicate lines, bright and light colors, lofty and idealized figures, flawless in form, unreachable. This is not the picture of divine love Kate Walters unveils in Love Paintings, but be assured it is no less perfect. This is a glimpse into the soul of a woman in love, empowered, and, knowing her true self, opens herself up to receive the divinity of the embodied Other. This love is exalted, but it is also earthy, material, present, and it can crack you open like a fragile egg, revealing your most delicate inner places. Walters does not tell us stories of distant gods, these are great powers of love inhabiting mortal bodies, experiencing delirium, transformation, and rebirth. The colors are dark, the paint is thick, the pieces are sticky and raw. Walters gives us holy love in manifestation, an eternal play enacted in flesh and fluid. This makes it no less idealistic, no less something that we can strive for, but it is something that we can know. Yet to achieve this knowledge of love, you must be prepared to be a vessel, a vehicle for the spirits to live and love through, so they can experience the bliss of conjunction through your body, to be touched, and to be undone by love’s revelation.
The key to understanding Walters’ work is to know her as a shaman. She is a walker between worlds, a spirit worker, and her art is fundamentally about bringing Spirit into the material plane. She is called to in her dreams, which become a source of knowledge from other realms and dimensions, lending a sense of uncanny perception and inspiration to her work. Yet embodiment is central to both her art and her process. Although the shamanic world is where the power that is beyond her lies, Walters uses trance, dance and motion to call Spirit forward while painting, using ecstatic techniques to release herself from the confines of the rational mind: “When you release from here, from the brain, that’s when the beauty comes. My guides will hold me and then they will show me. They won’t show me until I let go.” Walters believes that all our guides want to experience living in the world and they want to know the world through our bodies. In Love Paintings Walters asks what fires the body? What state of rapture evokes Spirit into us all?
………….. the essay in its entirety will be available from the gallery at the opening.
Second extract: from a collaborator and colleague, Member of The College of Psychoanalysts.
Kate Walters’ Love Paintings give us portals to step through the material world into the spirit world. She takes us into the oldest love story of all: the story of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her lover Dumuzi. The Love Paintings and the ancient text tell the story with such intensity that the body’s flesh becomes incandescent with divine spirit, and the divine spirit becomes richly textured with sensuous embodiment and exhilaration. An urgency courses through the work as the figures communicate in their ecstasy and also in the fullness of their repose.
If we allow ourselves a moment of awareness, we will notice that the new life that is born out of this intensity takes different forms. We can identify in these paintings various different literal forms of new life. Some are more conventional than others, such as the new relationship, or the new baby, or a renewed aliveness and energy for life. And then there is the new life that is apparent not for the new form that is taken but for the new category of life that is created. In the story of Inanna the category of life that is being created is the world of the imagination. Through the creation, the telling and retelling of the story, the rich reality of the world around us is revealed through the way it is seen and thought about. How we think about and understand the world around us has become infused with meaning, so we can experience it with exhilarating beauty and devastating horror. The Great Inanna, Goddess of Love and Beauty, calls him, Dumuzi, to plough her vulva for he is the one whom her womb loves best, he can caress her thighs, be taken to her bed and plant himself in the garden of her body. And the world flourishes. This is not only literal. This ritual act does not only make the barley grow high or the peach swell with sweet juices or the body ache with desire. It also creates the psychic reality that enables us to know all of this and to share in the experience of it with awareness. This is not a new form for life to show itself in. It is a new category of life.
The whole essay will also be available to read from the gallery at the opening on June 23rd.
Third extract: from some of my studio notes, made either in my studio or in the early morning when I waken from dreams:
I’m listening to a lactating Angel and I paint your face as if every cell is coming, your gaze tumescent, golden tongue a milky muscle churning and I’m still and dark holding my womb of blossoms she’s wrapped around your golden stalk you holy lover of mine and your other cock it climbs up through the spine of the deer (I paint the second cock out later)
I need to paint the dream I had of ploughing with my heart (now you plough me with your heart, your words & thoughts which come tap-tapping all night long at my window )
I’m giving birth to the angel of black-lighted wings, the inner woman who secretes her own light; I’m growing a cage of cartilage crafted from feathery spines around my heart and I’m filling it – pouring into it – a green light.
“Becoming the mother of her father” – the mystical soul – Henry Corbin, p 21 (The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism)
The day my special horse arrived and we walked through the field together, our hair blowing together, one of the happiest days of my life, silent and peaceful. My mane and her tail were the same flaxen colour.
With the Angel as the wind and my sail:
“You proposed a point/for beauty and for love / and tried to form / if only in imagination / a new sea” from ‘you who sail alone’ by Adeep Kamal Ad-Deen trans. by Roger Moger in Archaic: The Pavilion of Iraq Venice Biennale 2019
Painting thought: with her/my legs beginning to fold into another dimension at the prospect of mating with the angel (this image was lost but will rise again)
Body in Bliss Eros caressing Psyche