Kate was born in London and studied at Edinburgh College of Art between 1980 and 1984. She lives and works in London. Her paintings onto textiles are internationally known through exhibitions, installations and commissions. Her designs have been translated into rugs and tapestries, print and wallpaper. She has been Lead Artist for public buildings both for installations, colour work and art-commissioning. She is a passionate materialist and colourist working in clay and timber as well as onto paper and cloth. Her work has a close relationship and reference to domestic life and site specificity. It is robust, tactile and active and challenges the idea that the art-work and the viewer should be separated. In 2015 she was awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts. She is currently the Welcome Space artist for the new 3Ts hospital in Brighton now in construction, and developing a new body of studio work in clay, cloth and on paper.
- Work in Public Collections: Victoria and Albert Museum, The Craft Council, The Contemporary Arts Society.
- Awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts 2015.
- Current teaching: Visiting Lecturer in Mixed Media at the Royal College of Art, London.
Solo show 'The Gathering' in the ARTIST HOUSE, NEW ART CENTRE, ROCHE COURT.
9th June - 12th August 2018
Kate Blee is primarily known for her work with cloth. Hand-dyed or painted textiles - rugs and lengths of cashmere - reflect her sustained questioning of the relationship of colour with materials, and their engagement with each other. Throughout her creative life, Kate has expanded her knowledge of the visual and the tactile, experimenting with ceramics, oil painting, gouache, print-making, and even, in 2010 for an installation in the Artist’s House, lead. However, she has said that it is the “breadth of issues raised in architecture, from the most basic need to the most delicate emotion” that have informed the ideas and sensibilities driving her work. Appropriately, then, for her one-person exhibition at the New Art Centre, the contingencies of domestic function and scale presented in the layout of the Artist’s House, provide the stage for her complex and multi-discipline installation.
The main space upstairs in the Artist’s House is laid out as a domestic scene of sorts, inspired by Blee’s observations made of home environments and some of the activities which occur in these spaces. The practical and unremarkable gestures of daily life - washing, hanging, cooking, laying out, folding, pouring, spilling, wiping - are reconstituted in simple materials: paper, clay, cloth, wood, and are alluded to in the processes used to create the works - dying, firing, painting, staining. The table after a gathering; areas for washing and drying out; the storage of utensils;
arrested moments in the cycle of making, gathering, and consuming. These pauses in the action bring a temporarily sculptural nature to the continuum of effort and mess, and draw attention to Kate’s close conversation with materials, so we experience both her action on them and their action on each other, making visible the “push-me-pull-you” of process.
By Sarah Griffin 2018
2018 'The Gathering' Solo Show, Artist House, New Art Centre, Roche Court.
2013 'Editions' Contemporary rugs for collectors, Somerset House London
2010 Stroud International Textile Festival. Stroud
2010 Artists' House, New Art Centre, ROCHE COURT, group show.
2007 Kate Blee at the Scottish Gallery Edinburgh Scotland
2006 Kate Blee 'Cutting' solo at Christopher Farr, Los Angeles. USA
2005 'The Spirit of Liberty' Liberty, London
2005 'Celebrating 30 years' Crafts Council at the V&A Museum, London
2004 Kate Blee 'The unexpected life of a piece of cloth' C.A.A. Gallery London
2003 Kate Blee 'Order and Disorder' solo show. Egg. London.
2003 C.D.A Show. Sotheby's. London.
2002 Kate Blee Edmund De Wall show. Studio. London.
2002 LO.SA (South Africa social investment design project) Sotheby's London.
2001 'The Unexpected' Sotheby's New York.USA
2001 Kate Blee -Tapestries. Christopher Farr Gallery. London
2001 Kate Blee 'Flood' - rugs at Pucci International New York. USA. Produced by Christopher Farr. (Touring to LA. San Francisco. London)
2000 Pitti Imagine Casa experimental textiles. curated by Paola Navone. Florence. Italy
1999 Kate Blee solo show - painted cloth. Egg Gallery. London.
1998 Kate Blee solo show - rugs .The Christopher Farr Gallery. London
1997 'Objects of Our Time' The Crafts Council of Great Britain - touring
1996 Kate Blee & Jim Partridge' at the Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery. London
1995 Kate Blee solo show at Egg Gallery. London
1995 Kate Blee textiles. The Charleston Gallery. Sussex.
1995 'Clothes to collect'. Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery. London.
2011-18 Welcome Space Artist for the new 3Ts hospital. Brighton stage 1 and stage 2. BDP Architects.
2015 Artist commission John Radcliffe Hospital NHS Trust Oxford . Gynaecological Ward
2007-14 Lead Artist Southmead Academic and Pathology buildings. Bristol
2014 Artist commission Macmillan Cancer Support Centre. Brighton. David Morley Architects.
2012 Artist commission John Radcliffe Hospital NHS trust, Oxford. Intensive Care Baby Unit.
2000 Series of Tapestries. Westminster Parliament. Portcullis House. London. Hopkins Architects