Under One Skin

Under One Skin - An Exhibition by Kate Brown

Saturday & Sunday | The Annex
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM (or by appointment)

An intimate exhibition of work from 1984 to the present has been specially selected to celebrate The Sesquicentennial of Canada. The exhibition will be available to experience during July and August. The Annex hours are Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM or by appointment.

 " The environment within which a work of art is created cannot but help be a part of it in some way. Landscape enables and inspires. The vastness of Canada enables and inspires. Somehow, the wind blows through it."
Kate Brown

"It has been an honour and a privilege to help you justify the significance of your work. The work speaks volumes on a national level. It means a great deal to me to have been a slight part of the message."
Matt Coles, Art Director of Algonquin Art Centre

When Kate Brown was living in New York in the 90's ( to do her Graduate Degree in Visual Art) she began to reflect upon her Canadian heritage. From this  came a large body work. Not until Canada's Sesquicentennial and the invitation to show at HPL ANNEX in the heart land of Canadian Art did she think it would ever be shown. This exhibition, "Under One Skin " is comprised   of work from this time period, combined with earlier as well as some of her most current work.

As a whole,they speak to a love of the land, its light and its history.

RED CANOE, a deceptively simple oil stick drawing is the most provocative.  The canoe, of course, is not red but it's interior is. This speaks to the commonality we all have under one skin as well as to the blood shed in the colonization/creation of Canada .

painting red canoe

UNDER ONE SKIN, the title piece, is one of two pieces in the exhibition that were started in NYC 1991 and finished in Huntsville 2017. These were done on images of 1967 commemorative maps for Canada's Centennial. Graphite, paint and oil stick have been used to create a birch bark like surface over the entire country, leaving Hudson Bay as it's clearly visible centre.

 painting under one skin

ARCTIC LIGHT - The most recent work in the exhibition, " Arctic Light "was completed in 2017. The striations  of overlayed colour intersected with a semi circle alluding to The Arctic Circle convey a shimmering translucence that brings to mind the sun dancing off of the ice.

painting arctic light

CANADIAN SHIELD - The bars of colour like rock strata, heave upwards and down like molten layers of rock shifting into position. The interplay of the restrained palette plays with the light in a subtle and somewhat magical way just as the cliffs of rock dazzle and change on the sides of the highway as a car speeds by.

 painting canadian shield

SOUVENIR 1  - This piece, done in 1991, has been borrowed from a private collection. It was originally purchased by Joyce Wieland as part of the Joyce Wieland Protege Honour that was awarded to Brown at the ROM in 1996. When Joyce Wieland passed away, the piece was bequeathed back to the artist. Again part of series done in NYC, this is a graphite frottage of a a relief map of Canada that was made by Kate Brown expressly for this purpose. Hudson Bay again is prominent and highlighted metaphorically as Mother of Pearl. The red stitching around the perimeter was brings to mind the stitching on so many Canadian souvenirs. Apparently, as the artist's birthday is in August, as a child she would usually be away at camp so the little souvenirs she would receive as gifts would often have similar stitching.


EQUINOX  - Once again Brown takes bands of paint in white to misty grey and iridescent violet turning them into illumination. The two semi orbs confront each other like an air pressure system as if in a face off of all seasons. The glow of a pale warm gold contrasts with the red oxide just as a July summer night might with the the autumnal display of October.


THE SILENCE OF IT ALL -   This is like the breath taken upon seeing the very first snow fall of winter. That sacred hush that is ushered in with the arrival winter. 

 painting the silence of it all

TENDER VIEW -  The paint is in mostly shades of white with strong but gentle black strokes evoking trees and or their spaces. Below the surface of white can be discerned traces of paint and colours that exist there below the snow.

painting tender view

SPACES IN TRESS -  This painting, done in 1984, perhaps most articulately lays down Brown's oeuvre - space within space.The black shapes under layed with coloured wax, appear to be the objects in the composition.The ground however is not a solid surface upon which the spaces sit but rather is a series of connected  undulating shapes which are spaces  in themselves. In spite of the birch bark like markings, the paint is applied vertically in painterly motion creating yet another kind of space. No positive/ negative here, no polar opposites, simply areas of otherness existing on the same plane.

painting spaces in trees

THE BREADTH AND BREATH OF US -  Like the title piece"under One Skin" this was begun in  NYC 1991 and finished in Huntsville 2017. Again, painted and drawn on a 1967 commemorative map for Canada's Centennial.This piece,graphite, paint and oil stick have been used to create marks that evoke birch bark, but instead of a solid wide swath of it, the marks sweep across the land like a Chinook. We share the air that we breathe.

painting breadth and breath of us

SOUVENIR II -  Part of the 1991 series,  this is also a  graphite frottage of a  relief map of Canada. Here,however,Hudson Bay is situated like the  heart of the country and  is  highlighted with diagonal oils stick markings in white, black and grey. The graphite marks a pattern of sweeping,migrations that seem to imply the movement of people across the entire land mass. Red stitching around the perimeter once again  brings to mind  beloved Canadian souvenirs.

painting souvenior ii