Kate D. MacDowell sculpting nature’s love
From teaching high school students to producing websites for hi-tech companies, and from meditation retreat in rural India to getting inspiration from Italian Renaissance, Kate D. MacDowell eventually settled on creating ceramic masterpieces.
Kate’s hand-built porcelain sculptures are in part responses to environmental threats and their consequences, revealing the rifts and frictions in the union between man and nature. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. Her work has been shown throughout the US, and in Japan, the U.K. and Europe and in the Art Amsterdam, Art Hamptons, and NEXT Chicago contemporary art fairs.
She won several national clay awards in 2008 and 2009 including Best of Show for Feats of Clay, the NICHE awards (Hand built Ceramics), an Award of Excellence for CraftForms , first prize for Viewpoint: Ceramics , and first prize for Clay? II . In 2007 she was given full funding summer scholarships to the Penland School for Crafts and the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts. Her images have been published in 500 Ceramic Sculptures, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Calle20 (Spain), O.K. Periodicals (Netherlands), Creative Review (UK), Ceramics Monthly, and Hi-Fructose and online at notcot.org, formfiftyfive.com, abduzeedo.com, treehugger.com, juxtapoz.com, beautifuldecay.com, and many other sites. She recently exhibited in the NCECA Invitational exhibition “Earth Matters” in Philadelphia in spring 2010.
I hand sculpt each piece out of porcelain, often building a solid form and then hollowing it out. Smaller forms are built petal by petal, branch by branch and allow me the chance to get immersed in close study of the structure of a blossom or a bee. I chose porcelain for its luminous and ghostly qualities as well as its strength and ability to show fine texture. It highlights both the impermanence and fragility of natural forms in a dying ecosystem, while paradoxically, being a material that can last for thousands of years and is historically associated with high status and value. I see each piece as a captured and preserved specimen, a painstaking record of endangered natural forms and a commentary on our own culpability.