Kay WalkingStick's work seems to pull in two directions at once. On one level, the images are precisely balanced, reinforced by the diptych form and canvas sizes measured down to eighths of inches. On the other, her technique is very intense and physical, involving a layering of paint and saponified beeswax. She does not use a brush, but applies this mixture with her hands. The heavily layered side of the diptych is then cut and gouged with razor blades and scissors, revealing depths beneath the surface. The viewer is drawn into a counterpoint of action and stasis.
The figurative side of the canvas teems with movement, often turbulent, even violent. The image on the abstract side is perfectly placed in the center of the frame. As she has said about her work: "The abstract, often centered shape in the non-representational side, is found in a hypnogogic or intuitive manner. The two portions of the work relate in a mythic way — the natural is made fuller, more concrete by the abstract. One is not the abstraction of the other, one is the extension of the other. I want the two portions to resonate with one another like stanzas of a poem." 1
WalkingStick's work has evolved markedly since the mid-1970s, from single-panel abstractions to the diptych form she uses today.
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Publication information: Book title: I Stand in the Center of the Good:Interviews with Contemporary Native American Artists. Contributors: Lawrence Abbott - Editor. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1994. Page number: Not available.
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