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 Katherine Ace  (20/21st century)

About: Katherine Ace


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Lived/Active: Oregon/California/Illinois      Known for: mixed-media collage-unlikely juxtapositions

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A creator of collages of juxtaposed, often disturbing, random images such as knives and broken win glasses, butterflies and newsprint, classical portraits on the wall over apples lying on the floor, Katherine Ace also interjects figures into her work.  She says that her "tableux are inspired by what she sees, memories, photographs, historical references and sometimes by accident.  She is fascinated by opposites and the way they intersect and also "dark feelings" and the "fire beneath reserve" such as her work Venus Reviled, with the elegantly dressed young woman standing in front of a table with broken, jagged wine glasses and an upended knife that has been stabbed into the surface.

She was born on the south side of Chicago in a relatively tough neighborhood.  She showed early art talent, and by age 10 was enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago.  By age 14, she had set up a studio in her home, and her parents, respecting her space and creativity, made sure it was her private area.

After high school, she attended Ithaca College in New York for a short time and then transferred to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois where she studied painting and ceramics.  She interrupted her college education to spend time in New Orleans, working in a restaurant and painting pastel portraits in Jackson Square.  Returning to college, she earned a year's credit because of the quality of her self-declared 'sabbatical' portraits.  She graduated in 1975, and from that time to 1990, she lived what she described as a "vagabond existence."

She traveled the United States, living in beach towns and remote areas, and working as a potter in Vermont, and a quick portrait painter in a hotel in Reno, Nevada.  She lived in Nevada City and San Francisco, California, and in the Bay Area had a commercial art business.  She painted in her spare time.  However, the 1989 earthquake led to her decision to settle with her husband and young daughter to Oregon for better quality of life. 

In 2006, having divorced, she centers her life around her daughter and her painting, and has her studio in her home.

Bonnie Gangelhoff, "Mystery & Intrigue", Southwest Art, May 2006, pp. 114-119

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