Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

Read all articles by
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at 3:12 pm
Read similar articles:

Anatomy of Haste

Artist, Kate Downie, RSA, has a unique insight into international human travel and the means and effects of ‘the world on the move’.

The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh is devoting its Festival Exhibition to Kate’s work.

Kate, an American-born Scot of UK parentage (who has lived here since the age of 7), has exhibited extensively in the UK and beyond – Australia, Norway, Holland, France and the USA. She has studied ink painting and contemporary culture in China, including with the Master Calligrapher in Beijing.

The fascination she has with human travel has been inspired by recent journeys through Australian river estuaries, Japanese train systems and American highways, as well as closer to home with the new Forth Road crossing. This travel is intensely reflected in this dramatic exhibition. Titled ‘The Anatomy of Haste’, Kate’s work depicts human movement and migration. It explores the effect people have on the environment through the process of building and industrialisation of so much of the modern-day world.

Kate’s work has been very aptly described by, among others, Kapka Kasssabova, author of ‘Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (Granta 2017), as compelling; ‘Framed views of a natural or man-made world in unstoppable flux capturing the stages of her own journey towards stillness.’ Kapka’s statement, that the anatomy of human haste can be stripped to its bare bones and in order to do this and achieve this level of perception, the artist in turn strips herself of her ego, her own haste, is particularly relevant. Kapka goes on to say: ‘These exquisite fragments from our shared, precarious time on earth remind us to continue on our way with more care.’

In Kate’s words: ‘Humans, they get everywhere. We think we are going places but actually it is the substance of our journeys within we spend so much of our lives, that have created the most indelible monuments to our existence.’ She adds, ‘I am inspired by the ingenious and ubiquitous acts of engineering amidst the seas, mountains and the envelope of air, concrete asphalt, steel, glass and plastic, to my mind in the image of their own bodies that carries our movement and migration across planet earth.

Among Kate’s many thanks and acknowledgements which have made this exhibition come together she pays tribute to: ‘My thanks to Michael Wolchover, my fellow traveller in life and constant support, who photographed the works.’

The exhibition continues until 2 September 2017.

The Edinburgh Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh. Tel 0131 558 1200. Email

Opening times: Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Sunday CLOSED.


(Visited 1612 times)


Leave a Reply