Kate Cleaves grew up in Portland, Maine where she attended the Maine College of Art, and earned her BFA in painting. She uses her work to remind how there is an infinite source of beauty and perfection all around us when we take the time to stop and look. There is a lot to learn on how to live more sustainably and in sync with our surroundings by observing the ebb and flow of the living, natural world. Every plant, animal, cloud, and organism lives in a kind of harmony, and is part of deeper consciousness that is radiantly seamless. The idea of chaos and order is also present, and that underneath what often seems to be this complex jumble of everything, there is in fact a grand design – an eternal rhythm, or dance. She often draws inspiration from things like nebulas and the big bang theory: “I think it is amazing to think about how at one time, everything that makes up the billions of life forms on this planet was all part of this one tiny seed of exploding cosmic energy, and that the only real separation we experience is due to the distance between our ever expanding energy in time and space.” To Kate, this seems equally spiritual (or magical) as it does scientific. It is this kind of “magic” and scientific beauty, that she wishes to portray through the body of her work.
My paintings relate to this year’s curation theme as they are about how we need to remember our source, remember that we are all in fact made of the same star dust, and we all need to respect this beautiful world we live in, in order to turn things around for a brighter future. I believe there is a lot to learn on how to live more sustainably and in sync with our surroundings by observing the ebb and flow of the living, natural world. Every plant, animal, cloud, and organism lives in a kind of harmony, and is part of deeper consciousness that is radiantly seamless. This kind of balance and synthesis plays a key role within the inspiration of my work. My work also echoes the importance of a balance between science and spirituality – as I believe we need both to understand the world more wholly.
As for my history, I have been showing at Branches Gallery at Lucidity since the very first one in 2012. I had just moved from Maine to California as I felt like my art just didn’t fit in back east. The very first night I arrived at Lucidity and was hanging my work in the gallery (during that wild rain storm), and taking a look around at all the other artist’s work, I finally felt like I was home – Like I found my family, my kindred spirits. I am grateful for Branches as it has been such an important part of my life – I have built up fan base, and made so many connections through showing there – and has been one of the places I sell the most work, so it seems to be a really good symbiotic relationship as well. Branches is by far my favorite gallery to show and work in. It is exciting talking to people who come back every year to see what new work I have available.
As for my experience, I show in a lot of places around the bay area and back in Maine, and I also curate. I spent a year curating both group and solo shows at the Jelly Fish Gallery in Soma (I even did a show for Jordan Quintero who I met through Branches) – and now I am curating at a new Gallery/Brewery called Black Hammer Brewing in San Francisco. I enjoy curating and working in the gallery almost as much as painting.