Kay Hare – Portrait of a Riviera Artist

Kay Hare is a Monaco-based fine-art painter. Originally from North England, Kay moved to Monaco in 2011 and the classically trained artist’s work focuses on dreamlike, ethemeral visions, representing the imagination and its subconscious wanderings.

Can you give a little background as to how you became an artist?
I’ve been painting professionally for 20 years. My painting started in my late teens when I was provided free studio space in return for working and raising funds for the long term unemployed and disadvantaged children in North England. This project gave me access to oil paints and other materials as well as the space to experiment. This led on to an interest in formal training. I started a part time foundation course in Fine Art at the University of Northumbria. Graduating in 2000 from Central St Martins School of Art, London. I have exhibited throughout the UK and internationally.

Who or what are your key influences in your work?
The English Post-War painter Prunella Clough inspires me  because she takes realistic views and pushes them into her own dreamlike landscapes. She was highly innovative and her distinctive style has been influential to me. In my early career, I was fascinated by Jackson Pollock. His layering process with oils on canvas slowly built depth and create images that are provoking. This technique I used to create imaginary images that were unplanned and spontaneous. It also captures time and motion from the densely splattered paint.

Tell us about your latest series of work focusing on abstract dream landscapes?
My recent collection of paintings are from the period of 2011 to 2013. All the images come under the title of Dream Landscapes. from my travels around the French Riviera, sometimes drawing or memorising a physical area or landscape I am fond of. These memories I then translate onto a canvas which then creates a dreamlike landscape. The pastel colours I use are reflected in the buildings and skies that can often be seen in Menton, Monaco, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and other villages in the Riviera. Where I live has a huge influence on how I work and what I paint.Foreign Places (2012) 100cm x 100cm by Kay Hare

Can you expand on why memory is such an important aspect of your creative process?
Things remain in my memory more than others. It is probably their aesthetic value. Their colours… their calming influence. I do not hold on to to memoreies that hold negative emotions or do not inspire. A landscape that is aesthetically pleasing makes me want to create and to dream! It is the search for Utopia!

Do you ever deal with nightmare visions or Dystopias?
No. My reality is not dealing with negatoive landscapes. The subject of death does emerge in my work. A recent painting Jasmine Garden looks at the idea of the perfect, perfumed garden. But within this ‘perfection’ lies imperfection through a cemetery contained within the landscape. Death is not symbolically an ending but a channel into another realm. Another motif throughout my recent work is the use of birds to signify ‘freedom’ and ‘rebirth’. Death in other cultures is an end to suffering and the start of a new spiritual beginning.

Jasmine Garden (2012) 100cm x 100cm by Kay Hare

What do you want your paintings to communicate to viewers?
I would like my paintings to inspire and uplift. Without having to pin down exactly what they are, a bit like perfume. It’s there, but you can’t get a hold of it.

What is your next project?
I am now working on a new book featuring sketches of Monaco and the surrounding area. The skteches will capture everyday scenes – not so much the big tourist landmarks. My belief is that there is pleasure in the mundane. I am hoping to exhibit the sketches in Monaco later in the year.
To commission Kay Hare, contact kh[at]kayhare-art.com or visit her official website at www.kayhare-art.com

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