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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Harmony”Harmony

    28" x 44" acrylic on gessoed watercolor paper ©2012

Katherine Steichen Rosing

  • Art
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artist bio

In addition to maintaining an active exhibition career, Katherine has taught studio art courses at colleges and universities for 20 years in Madison and Chicago. Currently she teaches College Transfer Art courses at Madison College including Watercolor, Design, and Drawing Fundamentals, as well as Painting and Color Studies at UW- Madison, Division of Continuing Studies in the Arts. Born and raised in Appleton, she earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Colorado-Denver, and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1992. Her work is represented by Grace Chosy Gallery in Madison and may be seen on the web at

Rosing's work has been exhibited and collected throughout the United States and abroad, including: Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Tokyo, and Beijing. She has been active in the arts communities where she has lived, including Denver, Chicago, and Madison. In Chicago, she served on the board of A.R.C. Gallery & Educational Foundation in Chicago as Exhibition Curator and Vice-President. As a delegate to the NGO Forum of the Fourth UN Conference on Women held in China in 1995, Rosing spoke on an international panel of artists discussing galleries and art organizations run by women artists.

artist statement

My twin obsessions are forests and water. I am intrigued by the rhythmic patterns of tree trunks, the quiet spaces in between, and the unique shape and bark texture of individual trees. Trees are silent, steady watchers, sending roots in search of water and expiring oxygen, while life around them moves and changes. Falling rain, rippling the surface of ponds, creates patterns that not only remind me of water’s important role in sustaining life, but also how our own actions and words expand out into the world. I crave the peace and solitude that I find in nature -- interludes amidst the cacophony of modern life. In my paintings, I strive to conjure the mystery, saturated calm and deep reflection I experience when hiking through forests, and gazing into lakes and ponds.

My paintings spring from accumulated memories of forests and lakes. I shoot thousands of photographs as references, but when it gets right down to it in my studio, it’s the memories and feelings that emerge to develop the composition rather than any sort of literal interpretation. I work on the edge of abstraction, teetering back and forth, blurring the line between image and meaning. Paring an image to its essence clarifies and distills the ideas like a meditation on change and interaction.

I am driven by texture, color, and negative space. My painting process usually begins with the creation of a relief surface, using acrylic gel mediums to form a textured foundation on birch panel, suggesting bark texture or ripples on water. This initial texture is followed by many layers of paint to form subtle relationships between texture, color and light.