Anna Miles Gallery

KATE SMALL

Green Street

08/06/24 — 06/07/24

For many years the painter Kate Small has developed an imaginative territory that evades easy definition. Small has long been occupied by reconciling her embroilment in social experience with the visual possibilities of painting.
 
The social, or perhaps not-so-social, life she traces, relates to the experience of women in settings that lurch between the institutional and domestic. The stalwart presences in her paintings are typically clad in underwear or swimming togs and located near mops, sinks and other accoutrements of housework. As Small has noted, these figures, “are not actually vacuuming or diving. If anything, they’re doing nothing.”
 
A reductive method contributes to the enigmatic quality of Small’s paintings. Many early incidents in them — finely drawn details of plumbing, radiators, tiles, neon tubes and washing lines — survive in the finished works only as truncated fragments. The barely clothed figures appear stubbornly persistent in spaces gradually being taken apart around them. Small’s palette is upbeat in relation to the inertia she conjures. The figures in the paintings are regularly upstaged by blushingly conspicuous variants on everyday objects; a glowing peach bench, a coral-hued pedestal basin. What thrives in these settings is colour. Small’s paean to the common-or-garden ordinary, is akin to the beauty that enlivens the everyday — sun streaking into the house, a carpet of petals on the footpath.
 
 
 
 
Kate Small was born in Lower Hutt in 1968 and graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau in 1991. Small’s paintings are held in public and private collections in Aotearoa and overseas. Her work has been exhibited at City Gallery, Wellington Te Whare Toi, Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History and, most recently, the Dowse Art Museum. She lives in Masterton.

Green St, 2023
Oil on board, 1000 x 1000mm

Block Rd, 2023
Oil on board, 1000 x 1000mm

Maybe Rd, 2023
Oil on board, 1000 x 1000mm

Tara Place, 2023
Oil on board, 400 x 400mm

Kaumo Close, 2023
Oil on board, 400 x 400mm

Myrtle St, 2023
Oil on board, 400 x 400mm

Martha Turnell Cres, 2023
Oil on board, 400 x 400mm