KATE NEWBY : As far as you can

at Feuilleton  Los Angeles, July 2020


by Rosanna Albertini

the printmaking process – Marfa 2017

and this is the printed piece:

KATE NEWBY, I’m glad we’ve done it just to see 2018, Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2 in Ed. 7/10. Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy of Feuilleton, Los Angeles

Time itself, not the idea of it, brings these art pieces from a non-state to a presence, from the sculptor’s mind to a dusty, arid spread of the ground. I think the place sculpts her mind with smells and winds and infinite distances, her whole body could be altered, I don’t know, it happens to me in the desert. In this case, for sure, Kate Newby has asked the place to give her back the prize of her trust in a limitless space whose nocturnal life she can feel, rather than see. 

Each art piece comes from a physical relationship with something living, in the air or in the ground, something that disappears as the sun rises. During the time it is exposed outdoors, the sensitive body of the flat metal is entrusted to whatever can happen around and on its surface. Animal life, likely. 

Loneliness is its condition, along with freedom from instructions. Kate prepared the scene on the ground, the flat plate with bird seed around, some other food. Then left  for one or two long days and nights. The art piece yet to be born is detached from her decisions, taste, or control. The physical little theater belongs to the desert, dwelling in a world without humans, and a population of things with no names as they have been consumed and transformed by rolling and drying. It is an anonymous field of existence.

KATE NEWBY, Just be prepared (backyard, birds, Southtown) 2017. Soft ground etching, intaglio, 22.5 x 23.7 in. Ed. 5/10. Printed at Hare and Hound press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

KATE NEWBY, New Guy, Shadow, Carrots and Carrots Two, 2018. Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2. Ed. 7/10. Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

Kate withdraws, avoids to be vigilant. Her awareness – a philosopher would call it consciousness – goes to sleep. Paradoxically, she flees into the fullness of the unknown. (thank you, generous Levinas)

After a day or two of rising suns history is written on the plate. Language? Impossible to decipher. Understanding is a vanishing effort. On each piece signs are different, Sparse little marks near the edges, and emptiness in the middle are the outcome of a big desert storm. The printed piece is proud of its clarity: a beginning is undeniably there, you can touch it.

KATE NEWBY, Between Flavin and the Horn 2018. Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2 in. Ed. 7/10 Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

The artist looks at the spectacle on display, she doesn’t need to draw attention to herself. “Life is impoverished, it looses in interest, when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked.” (SIGMUND FREUD) It doesn’t matter her life as an artist is at stake. The physical universe teems with wildlife, her plates are pregnant with traces of intelligent actions, surprisingly intense, formally well organized.

Their formation cannot be questioned, yet there is rhythm and precision in each set of ‘drawings?’

KATE NEWBY, But still LOVE this 2020. Porcelain, silk thread, handmade wool rope, 13.5 x 10 in.
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

C’est là voir de la musique — There is a sight of music  (VALERY)

A visual music following her own time. What about if Kate Newby is a bird, a unique species making her nest with pebbles. She doesn’t pick them up. She sculpts them and paints them, secret treasures for pockets. I can imagine her flying over Brooklyn in the night, looking for directions on her portable phone. 


KATE NEWBY POCKETS WORKS, a project for writing, Portland, lumber room, 2019

Emmanuel Levinas, Le temps et l’autre, Paris, PUF, 1979

Sigmund Freud,”Thoughts from the Time on War and Death” 1915, quoted by Adam Phillips in Equals, Published by Basic Books  ©Adam Phillis 2002, 

Paul Valéry, L’homme et la coquille, Paris, Gallimard, 1937



— The Sharing Project —


By Joel Tauber

By Joel Tauber Freud writes in Civilization and its Discontents that when we’re first born, we recognize little separation between our egos and our surroundings. However, we soon learn – unless we have certain psychological pathologies – that we’re distinct entities. We notice that we desire things that aren’t contained within our bodies, so we adopt the reality principle and sever our egos from our environment.

Maturity” isolates and shrinks our egos, but not irrevocably. The act of sharing re-awakens our more interconnected selves. It blurs the boundaries between what is mine and thine, as philosopher Win-chiat Lee so eloquently explains; and it brings us together in the process.

This blurring is beautiful; but it’s not necessarily easy, even with the people that we love the most.

My birthday, Alison’s birthday, and our son Ozzie’s birthday are all within a few days of each other. While we attempt to honor our individual birthdays separately, the realities of the calendar don’t really allow us to do so. Ozzie made his second birthday explicitly communal by singing birthday songs for Alison and me. He sang one for his big brother Zeke as well, even though his birthday was three months away. It made both Alison and I want to cry, but it upset Zeke. He was happy to celebrate his brother’s birthday, but he didn’t want to lose the autonomy of his own special day in the process.

I encountered similar feelings when we invited some friends over that weekend. We sang birthday songs for Ozzie and Alison, but no one did so for me. I felt jealous and hurt, even as I worked to suppress those feelings. I found sharing my birthday to be both difficult and joyful, and I tried to make sense of my layered and conflicting emotions.

Philosopher Christian Miller talks about psychological studies that indicate that we have mixed characters. We’re neither purely compassionate nor purely selfish, and we tend to act more generously in particular contexts. If we feel especially happy, unhappy, or guilty; we are more likely to act altruistically.

When Zeke is happy, he shares so that he can perpetuate those feelings. When I’m unhappy or feel guilty, I share so that I can replace those feelings by better ones.

If we feel empathy, we are much more likely to share. Daniel Batson has done extensive research that demonstrates that people who are particularly empathic are more likely to be altruistic and that we are more likely to be altruistic towards people we know.

Batson’s research makes me optimistic. We can increase our capacities for altruism and sharing, once we allow ourselves to become more empathic people – a process that we can begin remarkably early in life.

Jessica Sommerville has discovered that we’re capable of acting altruistically as early as infancy, despite what Piaget and others once believed. 9-month olds give things to their parents and siblings of their own volition, and 12-month olds share toys with strangers.

There are plenty of individual differences amongst the infants in Sommerville’s studies. Some of them share quickly and generously, some share less generously, and some don’t share at all. As they get older, they tend to share more often, or at least up to a certain point. At the same time, they tend to become more discerning with their sharing, as many of them desire to share only with those they view as fair.

Zeke’s fort is sacred to him, and he only shares it with those he fully trusts. He shares it with his family. He also shares it with his close friend Connor, who is the only one of his peers who is “always nice to him.” Zeke lets Connor into his fort because he feels that he can share his problems with him and work together with him to solve them.

Zeke’s fort is both a refuge and a cure for bullying and other cruel behavior that causes him grief. He’s secure in his fort with his most beloved things. He uses his special tools and super hero powers to place the people who are hurting him into “jail.” He then “fixes” them by turning them into “good guys.”

At one level, Zeke understands that he’s pretending. At another level, it’s very much a conscious act. I see it as a personal and imaginative prayer or ritual aimed at fixing the universe – his particular version of the Kabbalistic concept, Tikkun Olam.

When Zeke shares his fort, it’s an act of extreme intimacy. I’m deeply moved whenever I enter Zeke’s fort. I feel the boundaries between us blurring; and I’m filled with awe at the profound level of sharing that Zeke is capable of achieving.

Joel Tauber, "SHARE" (photo direction: Joel Tauber, shot by Kristi Chan) from the art installation and movie, "The Sharing Project"

Joel Tauber, “SHARE” (photo direction: Joel Tauber, shot by Kristi Chan) from the art installation and movie, “The Sharing Project”

Joel Tauber is an artist and filmmaker who teaches experimental film and orchestrates the video art program at Wake Forest University. His current undertaking – “The Sharing Project” – will be presented as both a sculptural video installation and a feature film.