About the Artist
Kathryn E. Wiley is a painter of abstract works and landscapes; a collage artist; and a sculptor of works from found objects. She learned painting and drawing while living in Paris many years ago, and has continued her study of painting, collage and sculpture in New York City, the Washington DC area, and in numerous workshops in the US and Italy. While landscape was her first love, several years ago she sought a new challenge in abstract painting, and found that unusual compositions seemed to rise remixed from the stored images of a lifetime. Wiley has had two solo shows at the Foundry Gallery in Washington, DC, in 2007 and 2009. She plans to continue working in both abstract and representational forms, and to pursue collage and sculpture. Her paintings and collages are in private collections in the US and France, and are on display in May 2011 in a third solo show at the Foundry Gallery. She currently has underway two large outdoor sculpture commissions.
About the Work
One of Wiley's chief interests in abstract painting is exploring color relationships, the subtleties of gradations of color, often in the absence of strong lights and darks, that evoke the delicate balance and the interwoven nature of human relationships. In the May 2011 collection of work shown here, this can be seen especially in Woven Red, Red Land, and Rose Window, among other paintings. Many of the paintings feature squares and rectangles of color that cover the picture plane, forming a contained, contemplative space. One critic said that viewing these paintings is like sitting in the corner of a comfortable cafe talking with an old friend, understanding more and more as the conversation -- between painting and viewer -- deepens. These paintings reward time spent looking at them, slowly revealing the complexity of intimacy. In other paintings these squares and rectangles evoke an impression of landscape, in flashes of luminous light and intense color, or establish space, seeming to float on a distant background.
About these abstract paintings, Wiley says, "In my development of this collection, Hans Hoffman's 'push-pull' concept for establishing space in a painting made up of rectangles was one very helpful reference, although Hoffman's colors are much more intense generally than those in my paintings."
Wiley took up collage about three years ago, finding another challenge in the arrangement of different papers and colors. The results in the collection here range from almost representational to frankly surreal works.
The sculptures made from found objects mostly seem to create themselves -- the trick is in finding good objects that will cooperate. Temple Gate, for instance, made itself in the back yard of a junk shop where the parts were for sale. The two corbels, a 19th century fire hose clamp, and a fence post finial came together right there to take their present form.