Superbloom — Objectspace, June 2023 


A Superbloom is a spectacle of nature. It is an awakening of sorts, the blossoming of wildflower seeds that have lain dormant for years in desert soils. It occurs most often after an exceptionally rainy season.

This body of work is the accumulation of 4 years painting in my studio at home. For me it has been a journey of discovery without a final destination in mind, except the will to turn up everyday to do it. Prior to this I made clothes, had children, taught art and art history and originally trained as a sculptor when I attended art school. I have spent a lifetime engaged in the continuum of making and thinking about making of one kind or another.

My garden and what I grow is a continuous source of inspiration. My enquiry is based on my own view of the world, its influenced by the seasons, the garden my studio is in and what I’m growing, harvesting, eating and composting. Having said that I wouldn’t characterise myself as a painter of gardensbut a painter of parts of thingsthat become something else. 

My approach reflects nature and the cycle of growth, maturing and decay. Each state is a broad visual spectrum. The work based on a continuum of experimentation, of mark marking, of traditional and non-traditional techniques. Silhouettes have been a building block and starting point, over the course of a work I use repetition of motifs in different ways — overlapping, intersecting, composing and dissolving.

I’m interested in both the botanical and the biological. Beyond any representational starting points the work spans a broad spectrum of abstraction from minimal compositions more like Japanese Ikebanato more maximal works which are arrived are through a process of erasure and rebuilding over timethe composition above all becomes the record of the process itself.

I have developed a lexicon of processes over time. I paint wet on wet. Raw canvas is an essential material ingredientto the composition as well as the process and how it interacts with paint. In this sense I see the work as archaeologicalit exposes layers of mark making and the process of composition itself.

Tension and release are key compositional drivers. In each work I’m looking for the unexpected and element of surprise. I try to achieve this by maintaining control to a point and then surrendering to the processoften to achieve this I need to break the work. Loosing control is part of the process. I walk a strange line between elation and devastation on a daily basisbut that’s the job. Sometime success or failure is in the hands of the gods and you just have to accept that.

Parallel perspectives and a sense of ambiguity is important to me. Bridging different states is something I think aboutbotanical and biological, direct and atmospheric, form and shadow, simple and complex, raw and cooked, macro and micro, knowable and unknowable. Works exist somewhere in these in between spaces. My most recent series is based on the idea of shadow and residue. They are more atmospheric than representational, but based on natural formsa ghost field.

— Katie Battersby, June 2023