KATE MILSOM

After graduating in Fine Art from Oxford Brookes University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kate Milsom worked in art restoration for many years, where she developed a reverence for authentic materials and an appreciation of the richness and depth of pure pigment.

Kate’s work is rooted in the past, not simply because it features historical imagery, but also because she uses the same techniques and chemical processes. She began developing her now distinctive style of ‘antique surrealism’ while on a long stay in Venice in 2006, making use of city-floor ephemera such as museum leaflets.

As we increasingly move toward a paperless culture beholden to digital forms, another transposition has taken place within Kate’s work: the ‘collage’ elements are now sourced from ‘throw-away’ images on the internet, released from their pixels and returned to a version of their original form. From Kate’s mixture of painted and collaged elements evolve ‘intricate scenes of social malfunction’, in which symbolic references abound.

Researching her favourite cut-out figures for hours, Kate builds up a picture of their lives. With a wry smile and a vivid imagination, she transposes these facts into an alternative portrait; an invented image of the subject’s internal and external reality.

Kate is endlessly fascinated with how and why society functions, what ‘rules’ we accept to live by, where they are subverted and who among us is brave enough to pay them no heed. Working in series, her paintings often investigate socio-political themes using historical comparisons to highlight contemporary issues. Using the form of narrative portraiture the images are intended to ask of the viewer “Where do I fit in?” and subsequently “Where do you?” and ultimately “Are we all sitting comfortably?”.

Recent series include Friends & Family and No Man’s Land. In the first the artist investigates themes from her childhood and the jumble of her pictorial memory. In the second she celebrates remarkable, unsung figures in history who have challenged gender stereotyping in order to live lives of adventure and professional discovery.

In 2020 Kate won two Society of Women Artists prizes: the Princess Michael of Kent and the Special Fine Art Awards. Kate exhibits widely around the UK. In 2018 her work was featured in vis-à-vis at The University of South Wales, in which a selection of 20 images of women from its own Museum Collection were paired with 20 images of women by contemporary artists from Wales. She shows regularly at the Royal West of England Academy Open Exhibition, Bristol, and had her first major show with The Martin Tinney Gallery in 2018, following a group show there in 2017. She has also had work included in selected exhibitions in London, at The Menier Gallery, The Gallery Cork Street, and The Chelsea Arts Club. Kate has an increasing following of private European collectors from Southern France to Croatia.