Friday, June 7, 2013

Artist Interview :: Kate Huntington

Get to know a Copley artist! Kate Huntington's works are currently featured in our "Fine Arts Work Center Fellows" exhibit in the upper gallery. A fellow in 2012, Provincetown was the perfect setting for Kate to develop her genre and style. Popular for her beach scenes, Kate experimented with a new style and refined her sense of the figure and light. Recently, the Co|So staff interviewed one of our popular painters of Summertime about this work and her artistic career. 

1. Who is your greatest influence?

First I would have to say my mother. She was quite a talented artist herself but couldn’t pursue the field due to various circumstances the most prominent being that she had six kids to occupy her time. As a result, she strongly encouraged me at a very young age. In my teens, I met a terribly eccentric Italian- American artist named Antonio Dattorro. I became a protégé to him for a number of years getting quite an education in the process. He really taught me how to learn how to see. As far as notable artists, there are just so many that touch my heart and soul both past and present that I can’t even begin…however, I must say that I’ve always held a special place in my heart for Toulouse-Lautrec. I guess it’s because he conveys a sense of communication between his subjects (and what a cast of characters) that in my opinion is equal to no one. Plus, he owns the gesture.

Kate Huntington, Catch Me If You Can, 20 x 24, oil.
2. Tell us about your work in the FAWC show.

My main passion is the figure in the landscape and two of the paintings are representative of this. “The Sun is Shining on Narragansett Beach” captures a typical summer beach day, lots of people, lots of activities and lots of little speckles of color. The beach is placed on the bottom of the canvas and it is very bright with a sense of harmony. Wrestling with this scene however, is a large eerie sky that has formed on the other side of town.

The Bocce Ball players depict a bunch of guys communicating with one another while playing a popular game on the beach. It is also a celebration of the human figure.

A few years ago, I did a series of paintings depicting dogs playing. There’s a dog park across the street from where I live and paint and one day I realized that outside my door was an unlimited supply of new subject matter. I thought that if I could convey a sense of spirits among my human subjects, why not try the same with the dogs. They have so many different personalities and their mannerisms are priceless. “Catch Me if you Can” and “Tell You a Secret” are two examples of this series. It was just a lot of fun painting the dogs because they come in all different colors, sizes and shapes. The juxtaposition of multiple dogs created intriguing shapes and allowed me to experiment with space in an unfamiliar fashion.

 Kate Huntington, Bocce Boys, 30 x 40, oil.

3. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

At a very young age. My mother became a secretary at Brown University when I was in the first grade. It’s hard to believe but scrap paper was somewhat scarce in the early 60’s. She would periodically return home with a ream of paper with typing on one side but blank on the other. All six of us kids would sit around the dining room table and create drawings. It was pure heaven. I also remember painting the typical “landscape” in kindergarten…the house, sky, and grass etc. Mine was held up for all to see because I brought the sky down to the horizon as opposed to the top of the painting, which is normally where a little kid would logically think a sky should be. I guess I was a rather visual person even back then.

4. How did your experience at the FAWC affect your art/artistic voice?

At the FAWC, I found myself playing and experimenting more then usual. I worked on a series what I call “mud” paintings. I got this idea to depict children (adult children included) playing in the wet sand. I had a fun time building up the textures and imprints in the muddy sand. I kind of felt like I was playing in the mud myself. It’s a nice marriage between the representational and the abstract. I guess I did about a dozen paintings. Some were successful, some not so much, but definitely a theme I’m continuing to explore. I also did a little Plein Air painting and took plenty of photos while exploring for future paintings when I’m back in a landscape mood. (The Cape landscape definitely lends itself to large canvases). I like to think that my works are a little looser and the paint applied in a different manner. I have been told that the light on my paintings is brighter.


Kate Huntington, The Sun is Shining on Narragansett Beach, 40 x 50, oil.

5. Describe a poignant moment/experience from your time in Provincetown.

Well, there are so many to choose from. Provincetown is such an incredible place from people watching on a busy Saturday night on Commercial Street to watching the sunset off Race point. I would say a very poignant moment for me takes place in the Dunes off Snail Rd. After hiking for a spell, I took a moment to take in this magnificent landscape. The dunes are humongous. The sun is beating down and it seems everything that surrounds me is white. I can hear waves crashing in the distance but other than that, there’s stillness in the air. It’s so strange and a bit eerie that I feel like I’m on another planet.  And I’m thinking how lucky I am to be a part of this.