Kate Alterio jeweller visual artist

My journey as an artist has taken a circuitous route, beginning with contemporary jewellery, moving into painting, photography and more recently to 3d sculptural works. I find it deeply satisfying to work with different media, pushing my personal and technical boundaries to express ideas in multiple ways. Each medium has a different quality: the precision of jewellery, the fluid nature of painting, and capturing and holding time with photography.

I am a great believer in responding to the natural flow of life and embracing opportunities as they arise. Several mentors have contributed to my development as an artist. Each experience was transformative, opening doors for me to explore and discover different aspects of myself.

Through creative expression, I explore spiritual and metaphysical themes, sacred geometry and the tension between opposites. My conceptual approach questions the relationships between ego and consciousness, duality and paradox, and liminality and transformative processes.

For me, the process of creating is meditative as it requires presence. Each medium calls for a unique approach. At times, different media and themes cross over or respond to each other in ways that inspire new directions or suggest solutions to technical challenges. The act of creation requires faith. It is rare to know everything when I start a new body of work. Often there is an unfolding journey that I must trust in and surrender to. My intention is to create a sense of stillness and potency in my work that invites viewers to feel a corresponding resonance within themselves.

Otago Daily Times, Art seen, 13 April 2016. Written by Laura Elliot.

“At the Edge of Eternity, An Open Door”, Kate Alterio (Gallery Thirty Three, Wanaka) Kate Alterio’s “At the Edge of Eternity, An Open Door” is a journey into the realms of symbolism, codes, mystery and adventure.

Alterio draws on history, mythology, spirituality and philosophy, communicating myriad concepts in a single image, but often the exact meaning of a piece is elusive – there is that ‘‘open door” to all the things that lie beyond the plane of human experience and understanding.

One of the most intriguing pieces is Crucible (above). The symbols of alchemy, the ancient spiritual science practiced in Egypt, Europe and Asia, are placed in concentric circles around a central gold-plated philosopher’s stone, the sign of enlightenment, the so-called source of eternal life.

The symmetry and perfect placement of the work is almost hypnotic, drawing the eye toward the golden centre, as if the alchemical symbols are rotating around it.

The iconography of ancient Egypt is continued in Suspended Earth and Sky, in which Alterio pares down the world to its most abstracted, symbolic form, through two pyramids of bronze, silver, gold and topaz scarab beetles – an emblem of eternity, rebirth, and regeneration.

The Last Day is Also the First depicts an endless circle of the ouroboros, the image of a snake eating its own tail – the concept that there is no beginning or end, only a perpetual cycle.

The most emotive work, perhaps, is The One, The All, which unites symbols from religious and spiritual cultures across the world. Alterio’s own addition is a mother-of-pearl circle, to represent all the paths and traditions either not depicted or as yet unknown.

Homestyle Magazine, August 2008, written by Lucinda Diack.

After liaising with Kate for only a short time you are quickly immersed into her world of jewellery design and artistry; and her passion for the exquisite pieces she creates is hard to ignore. Crediting her parents for her creative mind, Kate is happy to reminisce about the amount of time she has spent “mesmerised by the interaction between flame and metal”, a driving force in the choice of her medium. “My Dad was a welder and growing up with him involved lots of garage andworkshop time. Mum has a passion for storytelling and is writer so I learnt from a young age how to visualise and use my imagination. It is no surprise that with my Dad’s practical and technical influence and my mother nurturing my creativity that I would gravitate to a craft such as jewellery.” Working with various metals and mediums, Kate’s latest collection has led her into a new forum of expression.

Driven by her desire to “understand what it is to be human and to explore the different aspects of human nature”, it is hardly surprising that it is these notions which underpin a number of her works. “The initial idea for my last collection (Unity) came to me while I was jogging around the (Wellington) Bays and was thinking about people and different stereotypes. I went home and drew 3 or 4 men and put them to the side. A month or so later I woke up at some ridiculous hour and couldn’t get back to sleep so I drew and wrote for hours until I had pretty much designed the whole collection!”

For the first time Kate has presented her work in framed groupings of silhouette human icons, rather than individual pieces of jewellery. Each one contemplates the idea that humans form “different relationships that help shape our awareness of self; contribute to our sense of belonging and enable us to feel part of something greater than ourselves”. Works like ‘It takes all types to make the world turn’ depict little human icons, each one different from the last, exploring notions of individuality and points of human difference. “I also suggest in this collection that our desire to define ourselves as individuals, as well as members of groups, underpins a universal human need”. This page left Kate in her studio with ‘it takes all types to make the world turn’ in the background. Right ‘unity’, mixed media (top) and ‘soul mates’, mixed media.

Opposite page Kate at work individualising characters for her next piece (top). selection of work from an earlier collection ‘one of these things is not like the others.’

Created from a master copy, each ‘man’ is cast from an original before being individualised through the soldering of handmade elements, crosses, halos, dimond settings and rolled textures. Once individual characteristics have been added, resin is poured over and all final detailing completed. “I had so much fun individualising each ‘man’ and seeing their characters develop.”

“All of my pieces reflect a stage of where I have been in my life. It is my hope that people can find something in my work to appreciate which may also resonate with them on a deeper level”. As Kate continues to create works which reflect the social world of today, and generate individual thought processes in each viewer, it is without a doubt that she will achieve this hope.