"Underneath every glamorous surface there is almost always a tense or tragic situation. Kate Waters' images contain what I would like to call suspicious stillness."

Andrés Isaac Santana, Madrid 24 July 2021

"Kate Waters' painting is exceptional. 

This categorical statement responds to two quite obvious reasons. The first is that her work updates the fact that every image is inscribed in an already established visual genealogy; the second is that every representation is an act of personal fiction turned into a kind of apotheosis of the real. Her technically exquisite images are reminiscent of many images that in turn are reminiscent of others, but they are untransferably unique, they are her own. These works certify, with meridian clarity, that the rhetorical detour is the fundamental matter of the pictorial fact. They are works that, using tropology and metaphor, move painting away from that degree zero that has so much to do with complacency and decoration. Her work is an X-ray of modern life and an architectural space in which pleasure and death, truth and lies, theatre and life inhabit.

In accordance with my observation from a distance and with my levels of understanding of art, I can affirm that with regard to Kate Waters' painting it is possible to discern four substantial orders of aesthetic and discursive action: a) the recycling of postmodern sensibility as knowledge, b) the narrative power of the image as description and illusion of the real, c) the emotive-conceptual belonging to a tradition endorsed by good work and c) the settling of scores between the photographic record and its subsequent conversion into painting."

Andrés Isaac Santana, Madrid 24 July 2021

"All pictures seem to have in common the approach of using photography to gain new and easily overlooked aspects from familiar scenes and to reflect on the process of perception. We learn to see from a romantic of anonymity."

Heinz-Norbert Jocks, excerpt from an essay on Kate Waters' painting

"The complex systems routinely interlock. Machines dispense hot coffee, loudspeakers provide music for entertainment, exhibition halls and streets are clean, the sewage flows away noiselessly, not far from the quietly rattling trains, both above and below ground. The learned use of these usually succeeds with confidence Conveniences according to personal preference and a practiced degree of resilience, with the occasional inconveniences and dysfunctions inherent in even large and almost perfect machines.As a rule, the film of one's own life runs, projected into architecture and domesticated nature. And in Kate Waters uses this double meaning in her pictorial works stations of her own bioscope. She shows the world as a stage on canvas and paper, unpretentious, but with a deep meaning for the players around her."

From PANIC ROOM by Thomas W. Kuhn, March 2020

The Poetry of the commonplace

Prof. Dr. David Galloway for GETTING USED TO THE 21ST CENTURY, 2008 - Single Show at Gallery Voss, Duesseldorf 

This is an oeuvre concerned with perception: with how the individuals portrayed here perceive themselves and their surroundings and how viewers, from their own voyeuristic standpoint, perceive the same. In the works of Kate Waters, too, one often has the feeling of catching players unawares, of their postures or glances revealing more than they realize.

Perhaps the most common player in these urban dramas is the „passerby“. What helps to dispel the sense of isolation and loneliness suggested by many of these works are their rich coloration and a luminescence that sometimes has the vividness of stained-glass windows. One is tempted at times to think of these works not so much in terms of the painterly tradition of photo-realism and more as a kind of photo-surrealism. What Neo Rauch accomplishes through distorted proportions and historical incongruities is realized here through a subtle poetry of the commonplace.

Throughout the work of Kate Waters, one can observe a careful interplay of form and content. Nor should we be misled by the impression that the compositions take life from the „throwaway“ medium of the snapshot. First of all, it is the spontaneous as opposed to the posed scene that fascinates the artist. Furthermore, her subjects are usually in motion and unaware that they are being photographed. In this way, Waters wrests an authentic, typically unprepossessing yet redolent moment from the flow of time. 

At periodic and increasingly brief intervals, art criticism takes note of the renaissance of figurative painting. In point of fact, it never went away. Even while he was creating his all-over action paintings, Jackson Pollock regularly returned to the figurative/symbolic mode of his earliest works. Nor has a flood of digital imagery seemed to stem the hunger for the painted representation of „the real thing“. The ability to mimic while simul- taneously transforming reality constitutes a kind of laying on of hands. With increasing virtuosity, Kate Waters takes part in this ritual act.

Exhibition view "It takes one to know one" 2021, Gallery Voss, Düsseldorf.