Kathleen Shaver is a Philadelphia painter who studied at Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) with teachers and mentors including Bill Richards, Chuck Fahlen, and Thomas Chimes. Her work has been included in a major survey of contemporary Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in exhibits at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, the James A. Michener Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and Moore.
The artist produces oil paintings and mixed media works on paper. A lush paint application and lively gestural strokes characterize her recent paintings, which often exhibit a highly textured surface and dense buildup of pigment. The influences of abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism are evident. Shaver admires such painters as Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Anselm Kiefer, Cecily Brown, Neo Rauch, and Louise Fishman.
For me, painting is primarily about mark making. I feel kinship with the Lascaux cave painters, whose images speak across barriers of time, culture, and language. We long to communicate, and the longing doesn’t stop when we lack words for what we want to say.
I aim to capture the mysterious, inexpressible aspects of human existence through mark making and painting. As I work, I wrestle with the kinds of concepts and assumptions we all acquire to navigate day-to-day life. They stand between me and discovery of the primal. The contest throws off both conundrums and the blessings of serendipity, fueling my process.
The physicality of paint interests me as well as the mark making itself. Often, I will apply it thickly, building up the surface only to scrape it down, layer by layer, until it speaks of my discovery. How I choose to texture it affects the mood of my strokes, conveying the emotion in my discovery.
Mark making helps me to find meaning. I want others to grasp that meaning and be enriched.