Kate Javens

inventory | cv | installation images | artist interview

Marcia Wood Gallery is delighted to announce the highly anticipated fourth Atlanta exhibition by Kate Javens. Javens is renowned for her exquisite and haunting paintings of animals that are chosen to represent and honor people in history who lived altruistic and progressive lives.

This work celebrates the creatures that have inspired Javens throughout her career. It also gives a deep bow to Charles Wilson Peale, natural historian, painter, educator and a truly curious and complicated man. He was the founder of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the first art museum and art school in America. He also founded Peale’s American Museum, a natural history museum with a wild (and short) history of excavation and exhibition, mastadons included.

The artist writes: "In all the years I’ve taken liberties with animal forms I’ve paid little tribute to their introduction, how they come to me, which is often in my sleep. Your dreams are boring to everyone but you, mine included—but, man, they’ve been great to me. I’ve been visited by creatures who’ve shown me all around my strange world. I’m objective by nature, even lazy spiritually, so I’m shocked and grateful when they appear. Every visit is a gift, and when I wake up I know I need to bow and think “thank you for coming.
To introduce them, I’m using Peale’s drapery from “The Artist in his Museum”, to separate the conscious from the subconscious. Ahh, the PAFA legacy, direct line, so beautiful—as someone who was taught by someone who was taught on down to Charles Wilson Peale, I finally feel the grace…."

Kate Javen’s paintings in oil are stunning both for the breathtaking beauty of her brushstroke as well as for their passionate moral intensity. In a painting style that synthesizes an Old Masters clarity of light with a basis in American naturalism and realism, Javens connects with the viewer by an empathy to her subjects – paintings of animals that are named for, and in fact stand as metaphorical portraits of, figures in American history; persons who represent to Javens an altruism and social activism that deserve to be commemorated. The animal subjects of Javens’ paintings embody to her the inner qualities and essence of the human historical figures that she honors, suggesting that it is not so much the image, but rather the quality of these persons for which they should be remembered.

Kate Javens was born in Missouri and spent her childhood in Japan, Mexico, and the bicoastal United States. She attended the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Javens is a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Painting Fellow, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts Disciplinary Winner in Painting, and a three-time MacDowell Fellow. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, the Palmer Museum of Art, the Telfair Museum of Art, the Blanden Museum of Art and the Connecticut College Print Collection. She has had solo exhibitions at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum in Iowa, the Princeton University Bernstein Gallery, Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta, the Schmidt Dean Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Sarah Morthland Gallery in New York City. Her group exhibitions include the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, the North Dakota Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Anna Kustera Gallery in New York City, the Abington Art Center in Philadelphia, Billy Shire Fine Art in Los Angeles, DFN Gallery in New York City and the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut. She lives and works in Harlem, New York City.