January 25, 2019

Kate Newby’s exhibition”A Puzzling Light and Moving” at Lumber Room is featured in The Oregonian.

Call it three-dimensional poetry, with chimes rather than rhymes.

Words play an integral part, conveying a layer of ideas, observations and ruminations, in  sculptor Kate Newby‘s current Portland exhibit, “A Puzzling Light and Moving.” Newby often carries a copy of poet Frank O’Hara’s “Second Avenue” collection and she considers titles for her works carefully, as shown by her installations at the Lumber Room, collector Sarah Miller Meigs’ pied-a-terre/gallery: “Three two one,” “I love you poems,” “The having seems great” and “Nothing that’s over so soon should give you so much strength.”

Working in ceramics, glass, wood and concrete, Newby looks for combinations of words that intrigue her, Meigs said. “She is very much present in the world, and she notices every little detail. She’s asking you to look very deeply and not just to brush by, because maybe it’s more than what you initially think.”

Usually, artists install their works and leave, but this show is a prolonged engagement – it opened in October and will continue through Oct. 6 – and while Newby is Lumber Room’s current artist-in-residence, she comes back and forth from Brooklyn, New York, where she lives. During her visit this January, she’s rearranged, replaced, subtracted and added elements. She’ll also present a lecture at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, on Jan. 28.

Newby’s “I love you poems” cluster on window ledges in the large lofty front room of Meigs’ second-floor space. “Kate finds broken glass on the streets and then she puts it into bowl-shaped ceramics, subjects it to high heat, and transforms them into beautiful objects,” Meigs said. “I believe Kate is simply exploring the idea in the potential beauty of the discarded.”

The room also housed “Three two one,” which was composed of ceramic hand-thrown chimes suspended from ropes. This installation has been completely redone and moved outside.

Elsewhere, new works include a text piece placed on the floor in the entry and 20 handmade windows with holes in the front room.

“Many things are possible when an artist is given time, support, encouragement and permission to carry forward and reflect,” Meigs said. She added that this project is a “moving target,” and since Newby was given the opportunity “to alter the past, to begin another future, or extend the present,” the installations are constantly evolving.

In an inner patio, “The having seems great” is a slanted wall of 50 barrel tiles, chosen from 140, in different clays, firings and textures. For one, Newby threw on a piece of spruce, whose sap burned into the tile. She imprinted another with couscous. Some have a rippled effect; others are smooth, lined or poked.

On another patio, “Northing that’s over so soon should give you so much strength” is a handmade puddle in concrete, oxide, ceramics and silver.

“I wanted to create a puddle to capture some of Portland’s rainfall, which has a reputation,” Newby said. “The concrete puddle is able to capture and reflect back what is happening in the outside environment.

“Also, since it is quite unique that I am able to do a one-year project, I wanted to include works that could participate with this unique time frame. I plan on leaving the puddle there for the entire time, and this will change and react as things change seasonally in Portland. I hope for snow, dust, litter, anything that will keep it as a work continually developing itself.”

The Lumber Room project presents her with an interesting and unpredictable challenge, Newby said. “I didn’t necessarily want to know the outcome at the beginning; I wanted to step into the duration of it and see what might be possible.”

To view the full article please visit The Oregonian.

For more information about Kate Newby please contact the gallery:




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