Kathryn Niles

Kathryn M. Niles '93

(American, born 1956)

Strata VII, 3/17/2012

Compressed charcoal and charcoal powder on paper

Courtesy of the artist

Artist's Statement:

Growing up very near the home of my grandparents who owned a

dairy farm in the countryside of upstate New York always kept me

close to the earth. They instilled in me an endless appreciation for

the land by planting, picking, gathering, walking, making, looking, and

learning to live in harmony with nature. It was here that I learned that

the natural environment is comprised of an infinite range of organic

materials and forms. I became sensitive to the rhythms, interruptions

and transformations taking place over the passage of time, and this

intimate recognition of the natural world urged me to represent it

visually. Capturing the tactile surfaces of these ever-changing shapes

are a constant challenge, whether I paint landscapes or draw organic


Rendering paper wasp nests is a study in layers, an exploration of

strata, if you will. These "shells" or "shelters" consist of layers and

layers, constructed by tiny wasps in a beautiful rhythm with seemingly

impossible delicacy. It is a true wonder of nature that such small insects

are capable of their enormous task.


Last Updated: 9/29/22