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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Katherine Treffinger

I first saw the work of Katherine Treffinger in an online community of artists at Flickr, and I fell in love with her abstract expressionist paintings. When I began look for more of Katherine’s work, to my delight, I discovered that she has a web site http://www.katherinetreffinger.com. ( you can click on this entry's title or use the link under my Artists' Galleries). I was completely smitten with her work. In fact, my heart's desire would be to have one of her paintings hanging in my home. Because I wanted to share my "discovery" with all of you, I contacted Katherine and asked if I might write a feature about her for my blog. She answered me so promptly and so graciously that I knew her spirit was as generous and beautiful as her art.

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I am hypnotized by her original use of deep dramatic hues and the odd sense of tranquility she manages to convey with these typically passionate colors. Maybe it’s the heavily textured swirls of violet, orange, turquoise, and green, or maybe it’s the recurring whimsical motifs that soothe me. White swans and black graphics flow against geometric patterns of red-orange, cobalt, and magenta.

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In the 1950’s Katherine grew up in the era of creative freedom and bohemian art, in Saulsilito when California was the home of abstract expressionism. Her childhood home was across the street from one of the coffee houses in which Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac read from their poetry, and her missing toys often turned up in the neighbors' sculptures. Needless to say, in this rich environment, her creativity flourished.

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Primarily a self-taught artist, Katherine has a degree in psychology from San Francisco State University and completed graduate work in the field of social welfare. She has exhibited widely in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. When questioned about what her art represents, she is characteristically mysterious. She has said, though, that the black linear elements often seen in her kaleidescopic paintings "might be an entry to something or maybe an exit."

In one interview, Katherine said, "When I stand before an empty canvas or piece of paper, I am lost, unaware of what to do. In fact, my most satisfying work comes from staying ‘lost’. Navigational confidence is seldom productive for me. Each piece becomes the recording of a unique introspective exploration."

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For the past several years Katherine has been painting in collaboration with artist Cindy Bilotti. (see two paintings above). Upon reading the book "Zhou Brothers: 30 Years of Collaboration", Katherine became intrigued by the concept of collaborative painting. Cindy was also interested, so out of of their conversations about the relationship of the mystical and mythical to art and life their partnership developed . Before starting a painting, they each read the same myth and agree to follow their instincts to allow paintings to emerge from the process. They each paint on a single piece at the same time and enjoy experimenting with texture, tools, and technique. Sometimes, while working, they are quiet for long periods of time, but often they talk, laugh, and even shout in their excitement. I am completely fascinated, not only by the origin of thier paintings: fables and myths, but by the idea of sharing the joyous process of creating with another artist. What could be more sublime than that?

You can see more of Katherine's work online at Flickr or visit her website to purchase original paintings at www.katherinetreffinger.com.


Flassie's Fil'a said...

Awesome Artist! I like the second third and fourth paintings. Really like the swan one and the last one the best.

Enjoying the Flower Duet music too!

God Bless You and Yours!!!

artbrat said...

What a neat concept of collaborative art. I've never heard of where they both work on something at the same time. I'd love to feel the energy in the room at those times. Thanks for the link and info.

Unknown said...

Flassie the two pieces you like are the collaborative pieces. Artbrat the energy was great. We painted 13 large paintings together and never had one tense moment even though we made the agreement to never hesitate painting over the other person's work and follwed through on that agreement many, many times in every painting. Check out Cindy's site at www.cindybilotti.com

Thank you again Alberta for featuring the work on your wonderful blog!

Katherine Treffinger

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