Kate completed her MFA from the University of Montana in May 2016, and she currently teaches Art at Wallace High School. Kate continues to spend her summers in the woods as a firefighter. She currently lives in Pinehurst, Idaho with her husband Chris and dog Smokey.
My artwork is part of an ongoing investigation to find a true point of orientation to the natural environment, which I define as both the rugged, mountainous wilderness, and the exposed flats.
As a wildland firefighter, I have formed a unique relationship to the natural environment. I know the sound of wood snapping inside an unstable tree and that sometimes rain evaporates before it hits the ground. I have learned that fire sounds like a freight train as it burns through the canopy of the forest, and I have quietly studied the slow, ominous expansion of thunderclouds. These observances are examples of the maelstrom that informs my relationship to the natural environment and my studio practice.
The drawings and sculptures are based in an analytical and sensory awareness. In the drawings, I delicately render debris from natural occurrences which are indications of turmoil. The gestural characteristics of the large drawing and sculpture are reminiscent of turbulent movements of wind and water. In the sculptural work, I use tent poles, flannel, wool, sleeping bag fill, wire fencing, zippers, and rip stop nylon as evidence of hikers, ranchers and hunters engaging with the natural environment.
By re-evaluating these occurrences in the studio, I remain in appreciation of nature’s beauty while also communicating a sense of apprehension and anxiety.