June Kelly Gallery

Kay WalkingStick Bio

June Kelly Gallery is pleased to present Kay WalkingStick: Works from the 1970s – 1980s.  These early paintings by the artist are unique and visionary, formal abstractions reflecting a mixture of artist as philosopher and mystic.  The exhibition will open on November 29, 2918 and will remain on view through January 15, 2019.

These rarely seen paintings mark an important moment in WalkingStick’s career when she completely abandoned the brush and worked the canvas with no other tools, but a knife and razor blade.  Manipulating, multiple times, as many as eight to ten layers of acrylic and cold wax, with her bare hands, WalkingStick achieved real physical presence with the canvas.“  As she applies the forceful surfaces she feels that her personal strength flows into the painting directly through her hands conveying a sense of power and energy,” said art critic, Ida K. Rigby, of ARTWEEK in 1980 in describing the evolvement of WalkingStick’s paintings.

“I want to make paintings that are close to my soul, but also speak to the viewer, paintings that have the feel of history, paintings that have layers of meaning yet paintings that are totally mine.”  Labeling these thoughts, “lofty aspirations,” in her 1978 notes, WalkingStick called her work “grave and gritty abstractions.”

Continuously pushing boundaries sustaining her conviction that art is the balance of the intellectual and the intuitive, WalkingStick wrote in the 1980s that her painting process is a combination of development of the composition which is logical and reductive with application of paint which is ritualistic and emotive.

WalkingStick thinks of painting as a primal language of essences speaking visually of things which cannot be stated otherwise.  Her surfaces evince none of the neutrality or visual passivity allied with the concept of minimalism.  She employs no symbolism as influence for meaning.  Her austere vocabulary, contemporary in concept yet primitive in application is limited to floating arcs, gashes, scattered and broken lines against rough textured surfaces that convey viewpoint without reference to the visible world (Giddy Grey, 1978).

WalkingStick’s paintings often grand in size, seductive in color (Synaptic Blue, 1982) enter the viewer’s psychological space aggressively as tactile objects as they are set off from the wall by deep stretchers around which she extends her gutsy painterly surfaces.  Deeply incised markings resonate a cosmic consciousness within the perception of boundless space.  There is in these works a quiet calm, says WalkingStick, due to the underpinning of geometry - the grid upon which she builds simple paintings with a sensuous rhythm.

WalkingStick says people glean diverse meanings from her early work, ‘If you’re a feminist, an Indian, a western formalist, you will relate to it that way and it’s all there.  Everything done, felt and experienced will eventually come out in painting.’  She is singularly unpossessive and ecumenical about her work”

WalkingStick lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania.  She holds a BFA from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College), Glenside, Pennsylvania, and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.  In November 2018, she will be inducted into the National Academy of Art and Design, New York City.  In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Lee Krasner grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. In 2003, she received the Distinguished Artist Award from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, and in 1995 she won a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting. WalkingStick is a recipient of the National Honor Award for Achievement in the Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art, and a Visual Artist Fellowship in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been a visiting artist and lecturer at Skowhegan, and also had a residency at the Rockefeller Conference & Study Center, Bellagio, Italy.

WalkingStick’s works have been shown in numerous one-person and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. She is represented in major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY; the Montclair Art Museum, NJ; the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, MI; the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN; the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN; the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, MI; the Newark Museum, NJ; the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond; the National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian, Washington, DC; the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa.

WalkingStick’s work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective at the National Museum of the American Indian (November 7, 2015- September 18, 2016) and traveled to the Dayton Art Institute (February 9-May 7, 2017); the Kalamazoo Institute of Art (June 17-September 10, 2017); the Heard Museum (October 13, 2016-January 8, 2017); the Gilcrease Museum (October 5, 2017-January 7, 2018); and the Montclair Art Museum (February 3, 2018-June 17, 2018).


Born in Syracuse, NY
Lives and works in Ithaca, NY

1975 MFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
1959 BFA, Beaver College, Glenside, PA

Solo Exhibitions
2018 Works from the 1970s-1980s, June Kelly Gallery, New York
2017 Kay WalkingStick, June Kelly Gallery, Art Dealers Association of America Art Show,
  Park Avenue Armory, New York
2015-18 Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, National Museum of the American Indian,
  Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, travelling retrospective, organized by the
  American Federation of Arts, New York that includes The Heard Museum in Phoenix,
  Arizona (October 13, 2016-January 8, 2017), Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio (Feb 9,
  2017–May 7, 2017), Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan (June 17-September 10,
  2017), Gilcrease Art Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma (October 5, 2017-January 7, 2018) and
  Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey (Feb. 3–June 17, 2018); catalogue
2015 New Paintings, June Kelly Gallery, New York
2013 American Landscape: New Paintings, June Kelly Gallery, New York
2011 Living in the City, Painting in the Wild: New Paintings, June Kelly Gallery, New York,
2010 Kay WalkingStick: Prints, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art,
   Indianapolis, IN
2009 Kay WalkingStick, Works on Paper, 1981-2000, Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery,
   Lafayette College, Easton, PA
2008 American Abstraction: Dialogue with the Cosmos: Montclair Museum of Art, NJ
2007 Recent Paintings, June Kelly Gallery, New York; catalogue
2005 Kay WalkingStick: A Mythic Journey, Paintings from Three Decades, University Art Gallery,
   Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN
2004 Kay WalkingStick: Mythic Dances, Paintings from Four Decades, Southeast Missouri
  Regional Museum, Southeast Missouri University, Cape Girardeau, MO; catalogue
2003 Sensual Texture: The Art of Kay WalkingStick, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians,
  Indianapolis, IN
Continuum 12 Artists: Kay WalkingStick/Rick Bartow, 18 month long exhibitions pairing
  two renown Native American artists, Smithsonian National Museum of the American
  Indian, New York
2002 Haptic Memory: Recent Paintings, essay by Eleanor Heartney, June Kelly Gallery, New
  York; brochure Lazzaro Signature Gallery, (two-person), Stoughton, WI
2000 Kay WalkingStick: works on paper from The Italian Suite, 1997-1999 and Dancing to Rome,
   2000, Olive Tjaden Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
1999 Paintings and Drawings, Miami Dade Community College, FL
The Heritage of Our Ancestors: Paintings by Kay WalkingStick and Jaune Quick-To-See Smith,
   Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
1995 Works on Paper, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Common Ground: Phil Young and Kay WalkingStick, Atrium Gallery, University of
   Connecticut, Storrs, CT
1994 Paintings and Works on Paper, June Kelly Gallery, New York
Hartell Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
1993 Galerie Calumet, Heidelberg, Germany
1992 Works on Paper, Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
Works on Paper, Jersey City Museum, NJ
1991 Works on Paper, Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
Kay WalkingStick: 1974-1990, The Hillwood Art Museum of Long Island University, CW
   Post Campus, Brookville, NY; traveled to Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, and Hartwick
   College Gallery, Oneonta, NY
1990 M-13 Gallery, New York
Rathbone Gallery, Junior College of Albany, NY
1989 Union College, Cranford, NJ
1988 Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1987 M-13 Gallery, New York
1985 Spruance Art Gallery, Beaver College, Glenside, PA
1985 Kay WalkingStick with Kay Miller: two-person exhibition, Carl N. Gorman Museum,
  University of California, Davis, CA
Visiting Artist Exhibit, Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
1984 Fort Lewis College, Fine Arts Gallery, Durango, CO
Bertha Urdang Gallery, New York
1981 Painting on Paper, Bertha Urdang Gallery, New York
1979 Wenger Gallery, San Diego, CA
1975 Kay WalkingStick with Peter Tilgner: two-person exhibition, New Jersey State Museum,

Museum and Corporate Collections
Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY
Denver Museum of Art, CO
Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, MI
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Montclair Art Museum, NJ
Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, LaJolla, CA
National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian, Washington, DC
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
Newark Museum, NJ
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Portland Art Museum, OR
Rockwell Museum of Fine Art, Corning, NY
San Diego Museum of Art, CA
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS
Southern Plains Indian Museum, Anadarko, OK
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY
Israel Museum, Jerusalem
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
City University of New York
Cornell University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY
Michigan State University, Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, MI
Pennsylvania State University, Palmer Museum of Art, University Park, PA
University of Arizona Art Museum, Tucson, AZ
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark
University of Vermont, Burlington, Robert Hull Fleming Museum, VT
Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH
Davidson College, NC
Rollins College, Roanoke, VA
Sweet Briar College Museum, VA
Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, CO
Bailey-Howe Library of the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York
Cherokee Heritage Foundation, Tahlequah, OK
AT&T, Morristown, NJ
Best Products, Ashland, VA
Cumberland Family Care Center, Brooklyn, NY
Johnson & Johnson, Personal Product Division, New Brunswick, NJ
Lake Shore National Bank, Chicago, IL
RJR Nabisco World Headquarters, East Hanover, NJ
Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co., Montvale, NJ
Pecker and Abramson, Hackensack, NJ
Poskanzer and Tulp, Fort Lee, NJ
Prudential Securities, New York
Public Services Electric and Gas Company, Newark, NJ
Schering-Plough Corporation, Madison, NJ
Texwipe Corporation, Saddle River, NJ
College Board American Print Collection, New York

2018 Cotter, Holland, Last Chance: “Growing, Faltering, Changing, Growing: Lessons From
  Kay WalkingStick,” The New York Times, Thursday, June 7
2015 Kennicott, Philip, “Kay WalkingStick, painting her heritage,” The Washington Post,
  National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC, November 6

Honors and Awards
2018 Elected to membership, National Academy of Design, New York
Recipient of the 2018 Murray Reich Distinguished Artist Award, presented by the New York
  Foundation for the Arts
2016 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
2011 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Arcadia University (formerly known as
   Beaver College), Glenside, PA, May 20
2010 Invited Guest, Montana Artist’s Refuge, an artist’s colony and retreat, Basin, MT,
2009 Distinguished Alumni, “At Home and in the World,” featured in publication, campaign
   for Arcadia University, pp. 26-27
2008 National Association of Women Artist, Honorary Vice-President, New York
2004 New York City Department of Education and The School Art League, Youth Friends
   Award, New York
2003 Distinguished Artist Award, Path Breakers: Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine
   Art,” Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN
1998 Residency, American Academy in Rome
1996 Honoree, Women's Caucus for Art, 1996 National Honor Award for Achievement in the
   Arts, Boston, MA
1995-96 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting

2016 Kay WalkingStick was invited to speak at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 18
  as part of the opening festivities to mark the museum’s historic expansion into the Met
  Breuer, formerly the Whitney Museum of American Art on Madison Avenue and 75th
  Street. WalkingStick gave two nine-minute talks in the museum’s American Wing on
  Fifth Avenue, the first at 6 pm and the second at 6:30 pm.
2010-2011 “Art Through Time: A Global View,” A 13-part PBS series that examines themes that
   connect works of art created throughout the world in different eras and reflecting
   diverse cultural perspectives on shared human experiences. “The Natural World,” the
   10th segment includes an interview with WalkingStick about her life and work.

  Member of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

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