Kathleen Zimmerman’s love affair with form is evident in all of her work. This passion was appreciated throughout school earning her artistic merit scholarships as well as academic grants from the University of Hartford Art School in West Hartford, Connecticut. There Kathleen received her fine arts degree in studio art concentrating in sculpture and printmaking. Since graduation she has worked as a monumental mold maker for Lands End Sculpture Center, a public school art teacher for Irving Robbins Middle School before starting her own studio, Zimmerman Fine Art Studio, during the five years she resided overseas in China. When she moved back to her home in Connecticut, Kathleen was juried into the memberships of the National Association of Women Artists in NYC, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and Connecticut Women Artists organizations. She has had solo exhibitions at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery on the University of Connecticut’s Groton campus, Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut and at the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center in Storrs, Connecticut, the latter exhibition was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, State of Connecticut's Office of the Arts and Windham Arts. Kathleen’s work has been juried into international, national and regional group exhibitions and has won awards at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Mystic Museum of Art, University of Connecticut and Guilford Art Center exhibitions, to mention a few.
At the beginning of Kathleen’s career, she received a public commission for a life-sized cast bronze sculpture, titled Melody, that is part of the permanent collection in the renowned Benson Park Sculpture Garden in Loveland, Colorado. Today she is working with Modern Multiples in Los Angeles, California, creating a full range of serigraphs from her graphite drawings. Last year, due to this work, she was chosen as one of thirty-two artists from across the nation thought to lead the way in this new millennium in an exhibit titled: Taos Art Insurgency: The New Protagonists. This visionary exhibition was located in Taos, New Mexico, a major artist’s colony that has been at the forefront of most of the major modern art movements initiated within the last 120 years.
Kathleen Zimmerman’s art is the way she explores ideas concerning relationships, stages of life and culture. It is a meditative practice of sorts that helps her stop and think about the issues of our time. As Kathleen works she finds layers of meaning, both intentional and unintentional, become apparent in the work filling her with delight and wonder. She creates her work in series’ so she can fully investigate each subject as well as create works that are more than the some of their parts. An example is Global Series - Bear Hugs where each drawing relates to the other drawing both visually and symbolically. Over the years, she has developed a personal visual language that uses symbolism and surrealism to transform her subject matter into archetypal images giving her work a mythical quality filled with layers of meaning.
While Kathleen uses a variety of materials, the ideas are the driving force behind these visual statements not the materials. That is one reason why she uses graphite, clay and wood in creating the originals. They are all very expressive without taking over. When working two-dimensionally, she begins with graphite because there's an intimacy about a hand-drawn image, which she loves.
“Whatever I put down on the paper is what I get. It is a real joy in being able to capture the creative act so purely.”
Curator for the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery, described Kathleen’s drawings as follows,
“Kathleen's intricate, delicately layered graphite drawings each appear to come together to form the complex entity. As with life, each lovely drawing is made up of so many ethereal textures, shades and shapes that you want to look at more deeply to experience the emotions visually laid out before you.“
Thank you, Julia. Kathleen uses these drawings as the basis for her print work, which is currently digital and serigraphic. She says,
“The nice thing about printmaking is I can add contrast, color and sometimes texture, depending on the type of printmaking method, while still retaining the essence of the drawings. I don't want my drawings to become painitngs or to rely on 'happy accidents' to make them interesting, thus I use technology in an intentional manner to enhance the original thought not to get away from it.”
When working three-dimensionally, Kathleen Zimmerman begins in clay or wood, both materials that are very user friendly. Clay lets her form organic shapes that are wonderful to touch while wood lets her construct simple shapes or more complex elements to compliment and finish the statements. Kathleen then casts and fabricates these elements into more permanent materials, such as bronze or stone. She does this because all her sculptures are envisioned as life-sized or large scale work to become part of the landscape or creating a landscape indoors. She often incorporates water as an essential material to complete the visual statement adding movement and life.
The historically important artists Kathleen most admires are; Kathe Kollwitz, a German Expressionistic printmaker, Remedios Varo, a Mexican Surrealistic painter, Georgia O'Keeffe, an American Modern painter, Paul Gauguin, a French Post Impressionist painter and Brancusi, a Romanian Minimalist sculptor. All of these very different artists have inspired her to create her own visual language, which is accessible to others, while remaining intimately personal.