Artist Statement - Kim McCarthy

Painting has provided me with a life long creative, expressive outlet. I begin each new body of work by reflecting on my last body of work and recent life experiences. Matters of the heart emerge; I choose something that is rich in depth and multifaceted for subject matter. I’ve explored my own geographic heritage and familial roots, fertility issues, ancient Goddess cultures and the Divine Feminine. Symbolic imagery develops and evolves into the unifying threads between the works. Old skeleton keys symbolize unlocking and opening, feathers represent the divine, while threads symbolize a continuum. Fragments of my script, drawings and photos are other expressive elements often collaged into a work. Circles and spirals are common motifs symbolizing the spiritual.

The rich and versatile ancient medium of encaustic provides me with an ideal process. I use vibrant, expressive colour in countless layers of pigmented wax with mixed media to paint my personal and spiritual evolution through metaphorical works. Materials and imagery may be partially submerged beneath transparent layers in the wax awaiting discovery or dominating near the surface. The work evolves through an interconnected and intuitive process of adding and subtracting layers. Like a miner excavating, I gouge and scrape away to allow what has become hidden beneath to emerge again. Simultaneously, I build up layers to create textures like sedentary rock or soil that cradle my personal symbols like gems. My favourite quotation is “The gold is in the dark” by Carl Jung. I have had my greatest personal growth through life’s challenges. As a final step in my process I selectively apply metallic leaf to the top layer. The ethereal golden light that results is radiant and symbolizes the sacredness of all of life’s experiences. Personal reflection and the creative process brings the gold in each experience to surface and to light. 

My current work explores the theme of life altering changes. I recently chose to undergo monumental changes in my life, ending a career, significant relationships and changing my geographical location of home. A new chapter begins along with the consequential new body of work, titled “Open Spaces”. Breathing in the vastness of the ethereal skies in my new surroundings has provided inspiration and imagery. These open spaces represent the unwritten and unknown. I’ve turned my attention to looking up and forward, although I still ground these sky-scapes with the earth below. Within the textured layers of ground I incorporate a bed of seeds. They are my perfect metaphor for holding life, migration, anticipation and manifestation.

Photo by Terry Manzo

Photo by Terry Manzo