“I believe stories are held in the landscape.” -Katie St. Clair
Looking at Katie St. Clair’s collection of artwork invokes a full sensory experience of nature, perhaps because that is the source of her inspiration and often her medium. Her paintings, through colors and textures derived from nature and experimental painting techniques, give the viewer a “tangible emotional experience” of what it feels like to be submerged in the wild, surrounded by nature.
St. Clair teaches art at Davidson College in Davidson, NC, and has had her paintings exhibited both nationally and internationally. She enjoys travel, which has a major influence on her art. She recently traveled to Indonesia, where she studied their vast variety of landscapes to gather visual information for her project, as well as their cultural views surrounding life and death, a theme which is often found in her work; St. Clair says that she is “inspired by the rich sensations of living and dying life,” particularly in nature.
St. Clair’s travels have taken her across the United States as well. In 2014, she was awarded the Smucker Wagstaff Scholarship, which funded an 800-mile solo bike ride across Michigan. She has also foraged for mushrooms in the mountains of North Carolina, an experience that she describes as a meditative practice. We see such travels influencing her work, both aesthetically and physically in her Fruiting Bodies collection, where she uses fungal dyes and forms to create a unique array of texture and color, and in her Wayside paintings, in which frozen collections of matter from the local landscapes that she visits drip pigment, texture, and debris onto a canvas below, creating expressive pooling images.
The artwork of Katie St. Clair is unique and evocative, allowing us to experience nature, and the cycle of life, to the very fullest extent.
Jaz Hicks, GreenHill Curatorial Intern
This post is the first installment of our Constant/Change Artist Highlight Series. Make sure to check back every Thursday to learn more about all eight artists!
Katie St.Clair, Fruiting Bodies, Pholiota, 2018, acrylic, collage, and mixed media on canvas, 54x48
Katie St. Clair, Mycena, 2018, acrylic, collage, and mixed media on canvas, 30x30