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The Art Five, Issue 20, with Artist, Kathryn Maple

KM: It feels incredibly special. Having exhibited in the 2018 John Moores (Painting Prize) I did not think there was any likelihood of me even getting in again, let alone winning. As the world was surrounded by so much uncertainty and sadness, having the John Moores Painting Prize to look forward to gave a focus and hope that at some point Art could be viewed in the flesh again.

I am able to get into the studio most days, but now with greater freedom to explore and experiment with new materials with more time for looking and thinking, allowing background ideas to surface. I have had some exciting studio visits over the past few months and an opportunity to teach and tutor with The Essential School of Painting, both are things which I am sure have come out of The John Moores Painting Prize.

The Common, painting by Kathryn Maple, winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2020
Kathryn Maple, 'The Common', 2020, acrylic on canvas, 246 x 222 cm 2020

KM: They (people) surround us, providing a way into a landscape which then becomes an active space for invention, an arena for play. I am trying to connect the feelings of people and places I pass through. People, often unaware of the spaces they are moving through, often in dialogue with themselves, where moments of contemplation provide time for reflection.

Kathryn Maple, (left) 'Walk With Me', 2019, acrylic on canvas, 165 x 105 cm. (right) 'By the Pond', 2019, mixed media on paper, 110 x 150 cm.

KM: The Drawing Year was definitely one of the most engaging and useful years of my life. Opening up many approaches to drawing, through intensely looking, provided an energising and an ongoing enquiry.

The spontaneity of painting, not needing too many materials to get marks down appeals to me. Over the last past few years, I have found collage to be useful in repurposing older works, figuring out compositions and allowing a certain unexpected pattern or colour to collide.

I have recently finished a series of large oil pastel drawings; I find the sensitivity in touch and marks similar to the marks I was making in lithography at Brighton (University). Not needing to recharge the brush and extending a colour across the full surface, especially when it is hot as the pigment spreads more like butter, allowing for the whole surface to be engaged. From my time at Brighton, I am continuing to explore mark-making through discovery and invention hoping that at some point in the painting the marks ‘knit’ together.

Oil pastel drawing by Kathryn Maple
Kathryn Maple, 'The Trophy's We Carry', 2021, oil pastel on paper, 109 x 152 cm

KM: I want to bring my experience with the world into paintings. I find making collages a way to

collate and catalogue memories keeping the investigation active. My favourite works to look are the ones when moments surface over time, when I am not given everything straight away and when the line is kept searching.

The way I begin my paintings has changed over the last few years from mapping out a rough foundation for the painting, I now tend to apply colour layers and marks in a fluid way allowing for obstacles and the structure of objects to direct the narrative. Working on a few paintings at once or within a series I find useful, keeping my investigation and narrative connected.

I was really lucky to have seen an exhibition of Hannah Ryggen’s work at Modern Art Oxford back in 2017. Even if these hugely generous tapestries were paintings, they would be incredible, but to comprehend their scale and narrative working in a small farmhouse dying her own materials in a remote farmhouse in Norway.

Vanessa Baird was a lockdown discovery through The Drawing Room in London. Her imagination and wit constantly reinventing her role within her domestic set up, seemingly chaotic, with a hugely charged darkly comedic narrative. There is something about the one hit charge in her paintings that I find refreshing; a clear line.

Painting by Kathryn Maple
Kathryn Maple, 'Hill Top', 2021, acrylic on canvas, 55 x 51 cm

KM: It is an incredible opportunity, and I will spend all of next year working towards it.

I have begun making some plans and hoping I have unlocked a painting I have been working on for a while and will then turn my attention to the solo show - Ahhh!

I have always wanted to work on a larger scale and have seen the room at The Walker Art Gallery which would make this possible.

Kathryn Maple in her studio.

Thank you to Kathryn Maple for participating in The Art Five, Issue 20.

Current and forthcoming exhibitions:

- The John Moores Painting Prize 2020 was on show 18 May - 27 June 2021 and is available to view virtually.

- Kathryn Maple will have a solo exhibition at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool with dates to be announced in 2022-23.


London-based British contemporary artist Kathryn Maple attended The Royal Drawing School London Post Graduate Programme (2013-14) following studying Fine Art Printmaking BA (Hons) at University of Brighton (2008-11). Recent exhibitions include Focus on the Female at

Exhibitionist Hotel, Cynthia Corbett Gallery, 2021, The Just, Aleph Contemporary, London, 2020 and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London, 2019. Kathryn Maple was announced Winner of The John Moores Painting Prize 2020, and also exhibited in 2018. Maple was announced Times Watercolour Competition Winner 2016 and 2014. Residencies include India in 2014/2015, Dumfries House, January 2014, and The Muse Gallery January - June 2012.

All images courtesy of The Artist.


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