Abstract vision

Painter Katherine Kadish in her Clifton studio

By Bill Franz

Photo: Kadish showing one of her earlier works

Just over a year ago, I started photographing Dayton artists at work in their studios and publishing the results in a blog. I am not an art critic, but I enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at how and where art is being produced.

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I visited Katherine Kadish, one of the Dayton area’s best-known artists, last April. She’s had solo shows from New York and London to Seoul and Nanjing. She’s been in group shows in many great museums, including the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Whitney in New York and National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.
When I contacted Kadish about a photo shoot in her studio, she asked me to pick her up at her home and drive her to her studio in Clifton. Kadish does not drive. She has had macular degeneration for years and now is legally blind. She hired an assistant a few years ago to help her with her work, but the assistant was not working the day I visited.

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Kadish’s studio is in a converted school built in 1873. There are no other artists in the building, but there are some interesting occupants. One converted classroom holds the Shoebox Theatre, which performs original plays in a theatre that holds an audience of only 50. Her studio is large and filled with natural light. She also has an array of lights directed at her work. She does her painting in this Clifton studio, but she makes her monotype prints in New York, where she and her husband maintain an apartment. The prints are made in collaboration with master printer Lisa Mackie.
Kadish’s primary task the day I visited was to review her most recent monotypes. She needed to choose 12 for a show in New York and also select some to be sent to a dealer in Charleston, West Virginia.

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Kadish has a room adjacent to her studio, which is used to store and display her work. As she showed me this area, she was nice enough to unwrap one of her earlier pieces—a painting made from an old family photo. After painting this work, Kadish did some figurative paintings of swimmers. This led her to create abstract paintings that were more about the feel of swimming. She has primarily done abstract work ever since.

Returning to the painting studio, she showed me two unfinished pieces that will be part of a Retina series. They are loosely based on photos of her retina that doctors have been taking for decades.

ARTIST UPDATE: I contacted Kadish to see what’s been happening since I visited her studio last April. She’s currently in New York working with her printer on some of her monotypes. When construction on the main Dayton Metro Library is complete, one of her oil paintings will be installed in the Quiet Reading Room.

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Bill Franz retired from a business career and became a volunteer photographer doing projects for  many local nonprofits.  His photos of people at work have been shown in art exhibitions across Ohio and neighboring states.  Find out more at billfranz17.com/about. 

 

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Bill Franz
Bill Franz retired from a business career and became a volunteer photographer doing projects for many local nonprofits.  His photos of people at work have been shown in art exhibitions across Ohio and neighboring states.  Find out more at billfranz17.com/about. 

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