Kate Giles grew up in Norfolk. Having completed a degree in English at New College Oxford (BA Hons Eng Lit)  she trained at Camberwell and Falmouth Schools of Art (BA Hons FA). She has exhibited regularly ever since, particularly in London and East Anglia but also internationally. Her work can be found in numerous public and private collections in the UK and abroad including the Britten Pears Foundation, Aviva and Banco Sabadell.  Exhibitions have arisen from a variety of commissions and residencies (e.g. at The National Theatre, The Whitechapel Bell Foundry and Kazan Cathedral, St Petersburgh.) Her work has, for many years, mainly focused on a keen and intimate vision of the landscape of her native East Anglia. From 2005 she lived and worked in Suffolk (Butley Mills Studios) and now divides her time between studios in London and Norfolk. Her work was hung alongside that of Constable, Turner, Creffield and Kossoff in an exhibition at the Salisbury Museum running from September 2016 to March 2017.

About the Work

Drawing on the spot intensively is the groundwork of all that I later paint. It feeds on the specifics of particulars: tree, field, angle, light, shadow; alert to the weathering of the year; a vital initial response to the seized moment.

Back in the studio, painting is to digest, remake, discover and unearth. The subject becomes, not so much the object, as what resonates between memory, presence and the feeling at the time.

Francis Bacon wondered how possible it was in a painting to “catch the mystery of appearance within the mystery of making”. He knew that “by some accidental brush marks, suddenly appearance comes in with a vividness that no accepted way of doing it would have brought about”.

Admiring Cezanne for his “courage to put down what he didn’t see” Roger Hilton aimed at work that would “swing out into the void”, into a so called “not as yet”. Constable felt that painting was simply “another word for feeling” (his passionate “language of the heart”). The seen as unseen.

Keenly aware of the inheritance of Dutch and English landscape traditions, for me Constable remains a lifelong taproot and lodestar. He declared his “limited and abstracted art” to be “found under every hedge and every lane”, one alert to a deep physical engagement with embodied life.

Surely this conviction and urgency of response is what inhabits “knowing something by heart” and must lie behind Bacon’s mystery as to how appearance can come in within the mystery of making. 

Kate Giles 2019