Kathy Hooper’s remarkable career spans six decades of curiosity and creation, and demonstrates what it means to confront our fear and our delight in equal measure. Leading by example, she bravely honours the fullness of life, including the winding pathways where life’s joy and distress intermingle. Across her prolific multi-disciplinary art practice, social and environmental activism, and in her personal life, she approaches the world with earnest integrity and wonder.
Hooper’s imprint on the New Brunswick arts ecosystem has been revolutionary. A highly acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, she has been awarded the province’s highest honours in the visual arts, and her work can be found in public and private collections around the world—she has eight works in the National Art Bank alone.
In art and activism she meaningfully delves into often-overlapping explorations of identity, feminism, multi-species entanglements, socio-political structures, climate crisis and violence. Unbound by any one media, Hooper moves fluidly between painting, clay sculpture and functional ceramics, various forms of printmaking, wood carving, embroidery, poetry and prose. She lives art; nurturing her incredible gardens, and enlivening her domestic spaces.
Yet, it is her ritual of drawing which propels her creative process. Often beginning with just a line, her drawings are largely unplanned and spark with immediacy. She refers to the powerful moment the artwork takes over, as though she becomes a conduit for creativity, rather than its author.
In an artist statement for a 1969 solo exhibition which toured the Atlantic provinces, Kathy Hooper wrote:
“I want to say how infinitely beautiful, how ugly, how funny, and how exciting the world is. I want to stretch as far, and dig as deep as I can. I want to say that there is nothing I know for sure except that — there is nothing I know for sure.”