Katherine Boucher Beug, originally from Princeton New Jersey, USA, completed her BA in English and Fine Art at Northwestern University in 1969, and went on to study at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Hamburg. She has been working from her studio in Dunderrow, Co. Cork, Ireland since 1971.

Her daily practice of drawing and sketchbook work which often includes text, is a driving force in the search to stay close to significant and fresh material which must be expressed. Whether abstract or representational, her work comes from the same impulse. She seeks the unexpected. This expressive mode is coupled with a rigourous, ongoing inquiry into colour dating from her teens when she studied Joseph Alber's ‘Interaction of Colour' both in America and Germany. She later went on to teach Albers and drawing for many years.

In addition to numerous group shows in Ireland and Europe, the artist has had three major solo shows. Thought Before Song in 1994 included paintings, drawings, and an artist's book comprised of eight lithographs and the artist's texts. 'Whose Equation' in 1999 marked a shift to larger canvases, and the ‘condensed energy' of working within a grid.Telemachus, her most finely honed body of work to date at the Fenton Gallery included twelve canvases, ten mono prints and a series of large drawings. The catalogue, ‘Telemachus' includes a section titled,' From a Studio Journal'. This text, fragments from the artist's studio journal, offers a unique insight into the creative mind at work, from technical queries to the poetic:

Inherent irony; the search is
for that particular form which insists
that I bow, strip, become as nothing.
from ‘Telemachus' pg 38

The basis of Beug's aesthetic is most clearly seen in the ‘Telemachus' work; intense study of the Irish sea, sky, weather/light, land and rural architecture specific to West Cork. It is here that she gathers her ‘tropes', her language with which to communicate. Her images are, in part, a distillation of her intense rapport with the landscape in which she lives. Yet she brings to her observing the eye of the ‘outsider', one who was not born in Ireland. Curiously, even when working with other themes, such as the theatre, these ‘landscape tropes' are apparent.

The artist's interest in, and involvement with the theatre, set design and the circus dates back to the sixties, reemerging in her work around 2003. The large canvas, 'Small Stage for Unrehearsed Words' and drawings from this time play with ideas around performance, the absence of the performer, and the circus. Three-dimensional elements like the 'Table', the 'Dog' ,and more collage work started to appear around 2004. The varied and multi-faceted work in her solo show, 'Some Time' (2011) brings together the work of the last seven years.

Her work is represented in the collections of the Arts Council of Ireland, Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank, University College Cork, Princeton University Library, Crawford Municipal Gallery and in many private collections in Ireland, Europe and the USA.


Katherine Boucher Beug