Katherine HATTAM

The recurring image of chairs is a theme explored by Katherine since the mid 1990s. Her obsessive large black and white charcoal drawings as a sixteen year old incorporated domestic settings and representations of family members symbolically portrayed as objects. Much of this work was lost in the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983 in the Adelaide Hills.

Hal Hattam died in 1994. Two years later Katherine s mother found four of the early drawings that featured symbolic representation of the family, the interior of the Canterbury home and, in particular, the motif of the chair became the focus and still resonate in Katherine s new work.

Katherine Hattam began in her early years with small linear self-portraits and scenes of family life on Basildon Bond writing paper and shortly after progressed to large black and white charcoal drawings depicting family, other people and furniture. Artist, Arthur Boyd, was shown the drawings and told Katherine s parents to take her out of school and encourage her to get on with being an artist.

Hattam completed a Master of Fine Art in Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts and later completed a PhD at Deakin University. Prior to these studies (and several years before) Katherine undertook a degree in Literature and Sociology / Political Science at the University of Melbourne.

Hattam had her first solo exhibition in 1978 at the George Paton & Ewing Gallery alongside Helen Frankenthaler. She has exhibited regularly ever since in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra with institutional shows at Warrnambool, Bendigo and Geelong Art Galleries.

Prolific, academically gifted and a perfectionist, her work has been heavily influenced by the landmarks of Melbourne, and her vibrant paintings contain echoes of Matisse. Her work has been collected by significant public and private institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Queensland Art Gallery. Katherine has won the Banyule Drawing Prize and Robert Jacks Drawing Prize and has been short-listed many times in the Dobell Drawing Prize and Arthur Guy Painting Prize.