Kathleen Ward finds inspiration in many sources – the human form, nature, women’s experiences, and the metamorphosis of self. These intertwine with what is visibly seen to then shape her creative ideas.
Since early childhood, her strongest voice then, as now, has been her art. It is the same for others in her family, women especially, though none except she trained formally. Their presence, their energies, are gentle, strong undercurrents in Kathleen’s development. They are also the source of her fascination with the human figure and the subject of identity. Through contemporary cultural and psychological lenses, her figures are sometimes transformed into female and male archetypes. She may also respond to the simple beauty of working with the model and the very humanness of their pose.
Equally important are the summers spent on her grandparents’ farm, giving her a close association with planting, growing, and the daily tending of animals. The earth – gathered, shaped – suggests a need, a purpose. It either lies in stasis, waiting, or is energetic with activity, engrossed in the process of becoming. Later, living atop a mountain in western North Carolina, nature for Kathleen becomes both immensely glorious and tempestuous, inspiring and isolating. These experiences inform many of her works which deal with themes of metamorphosis and her allegorical paintings of vivid horses thundering through dreams.
“My works are an exploration of concurrent ideas of evolution and permanence, identity and self, dynamic energies and stasis, and the inherent passage of time. As humans, what do we seek? What do we cling to? What do we put in motion that may become far more than we imagined, or … irretrievable?”
Ward received her undergraduate degree in Painting from the School of Art and Design at East Carolina University, her Master’s in Visual Design from NC State University School of Design, and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She exhibits nationally and internationally.
“My work and my themes are diverse. The one constant, however, is my deep admiration for the process – the evolution, the transformation, the ongoing creation of the art, the artist, and the viewer through the realization of a work.”