Vermont Arts Council

An Artist Evolves

Kathy Stark’s first winter in Vermont was in the year 2000. Right away, she began to capture “the season’s subtle variation in color” on her canvases. At first glance, those paintings appear a bit barren. A more sustained look uncovers the artist’s characteristic marks, lines, movements, and patterns set into paint.

Two of those pieces are in the exhibit called “… and the journey continues …” now in the Spotlight Gallery. They are both from a series called White Works. Five different series are represented in the show.

Moving Through Life

Kathy grew up in New York’s Hudson River Valley. She went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to start college; she finished at New York University. Kathy continued her studies at the Art Students League and later worked at the Printmaking Workshop in New York City. She lived in Chelsea and showed regularly in SoHo galleries. She moved to Nantucket in 1983, then to Vermont in 2000. Since then, Kathy and her husband John have happily resided in the Northeast Kingdom’s Craftsbury Common. She has also travelled to Israel “on a whim!” and spent time in Europe.

Kathy says she was “always an artist.” Making art has been one constant in her life. She took art lessons throughout her childhood and studied privately with a book illustrator in high school. Her work at that time was more representational; she was “more of an impressionist.” She moved to abstract art in the 1970s, during her time in New York.

The Series Morph

“Turn Around When Possible” from the Checker Board Series

Kathy’s art is careful; she describes it as “very controlled, and very obsessive.” She works with paint, ink, and collage.

She explores one concept for several years. When she is done with a series, she moves to another, but not without a couple of transitional pieces. New ideas begin to overlay the others. She calls it “morphing.” Lines move to words, “which I saw not as words, but as linear patterns.” Words move to symbols, symbols appear amidst patterns. The pieces in the show are hung in chronological order, the evolution evident. “There’s a variety of different works, and I am pleased with the way I’ve used my artistic vocabulary.”

Unfolding to Now

“I have a studio, so I am able to look at some older work. But, I’ve never had the experience of hanging work from the 80s to now. It will be interesting for me to see the progression in a public venue.”

The three most current pieces are the first of a new series that will show in New York City next year. Kathy considers them the most revealing. They are large and bold. “I see them very much integrated into who I am and how I express myself. We’re all striving to be exactly who we are and living in our own skin.” Or more simply put, “I’m the age I am. Whatever.”


Hear Kathy talk about her work during Art Walk on Friday, February 3 at 5:10.

read the artist statement

visit Kathy Stark’s website

Susan McDowell

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