Kay Harvey grew up in New Mexico, moving there at the age of 4. Painting was always something she loved to do as a child. She studied painting in college at Bradford Jr College with Doug Huebler who told her “if you really want to study art go to a University”. She took that advice and went to The University of Arizona where she got a BFA. She then traveled to Houston and worked at The Houston Museum Fine Arts School for a few years before going to Illinois Institute of Technology, The Institute of Design where she studied in the graduate department printing with Misch Kohn and photography with Joe Jachna. After graduate school she moved back to New Mexico and began painting in earnest along with having a family. She has always loved to travel and it has been an inspiration in her work. The process of painting has been her motivation and her willingness to learn and grow from her art has been her desire. She worked with some master artists in printing, painting and sculpture in the 90’s in Santa Fe at The Santa Fe Art Institute. Kay worked in New York in 1996 at The International Studio Program and was in a group show there. She has had some shows around the country, Chicago, San Francisco,Tulsa and in Santa Fe, which have been encouraging and inlightening experiences. Mainly she has done her art. “Kay Harvey’s unique vision has emerged through much cross reference to the figure as it is drawn, collaged or molded in clay, and now the figure emerges through the gesturing of paint, slithering across the surface it becomes a figure-landscape. Kinetically broken up and fragmented, the figure-landscape is sometimes a handwriting, sometimes a map or contour. Though the definition is unclear, the gesturing is very unified and is a much realized, ritual motion of what a painting of print can be said to be about: color, texture, light and surface.” – Lynda Benglis
My art is process oriented. I work in series with oil paint on canvas, paper, mylar, metal and other surfaces. I begin with inspiration from landscape and sound, structure and chaos. Shapes float on top of other structures. Structures build on top of one another in layers creating veils. Veils become translucent and reveal hints of past forms and color. Colors blend and obscure, reflect and transmit to become form again. The process becomes the art, as the art is the process… My paintings are a cycle of elements as they interplay with one another and myself over time. The interplay has movement and motion with inter weavings of the elements that inspire me for the next painting.
The years after The Diebenkorn master class in 1985 In December 1985 I had the most amazing opportunity to do the first master class with Richard Diebenkorn at The Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts (The name has since been changed to Santa Fe Art Institute 2017). The master class was held on the top floor of the building on San Francisco street that is now a shopping mall! It was a great huge space perfect for an art space. Having studied art as a child through high school, the University of Arizona, and graduate school, it was a dream come true to just be in the same room with a revered artist like Richard Diebenkorn. I took notes on things he said in class, truisms that struck home for me. These are just a few of his ideas that have lived with me all these years: “There are two main elements in painting- that which comes from your experience of life, and that which comes from the dynamics of painting itself.” The series is called La Tierra as they all started out inspired by the landscape. I found myself discovering more about where the act of painting could take me, as my art has never been driven by repetition or representation.