Mixed Media Collage by Kate Norris
Kate Norris is a mixed media collage artist from Baltimore, working primarily with wallpaper to create spectacular images of flora and fauna. Her work is on display at the Peninsula Gallery in Lewes, DE.
One compelling aspect of Norris’ work is her use of vintage wallpaper inspired by 16th-19th century scientific and naturalist illustrations. She uses these images as jumping-off points for the subjects of her own work, creating labyrinthine layers of symbolism. The artist says, “The scientific illustrations are a challenge to myself, ‘Can I represent this image using pieces of wallpaper?” Kate’s process begins with a loose under-drawing on canvas. While this step is integral in composing the layout, she often follows her artistic intuition and strays from the drawing as she applies paper. She starts her collages with stockpiles of pre-ripped materials. Nearer the final stages, she rips as she goes, getting more strategic and giving specific attention to color and value, as well as the images within the wallpaper print. This intricate process of finding art within the art gives Kate’s viewer an endless journey through each creation.
While much of Norris’s inspiration evolves from her materials, her cognitive connection to her animal, insect, and human subjects are rooted much deeper. This is expressed through the exhibition title, “Symbiosis: Art and Nature.” The artist states, “Symbiosis is the interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both. While not different organisms per se, art and nature are fused in my work. I give homage to the wonders found in nature.” One of Kate’s common subjects are skulls, which take on a hopeful meaning in her collection, through her choice of lively and floral paper design. She says, “Skulls speak to the life cycle. Though my skulls suggest death, upon close inspection they reveal an abundance of life within.”
Norris work is on display through June 21. View the exhibition.