Kim Booker (b.1983) is a London based painter who studied for her BA at City & Guilds of London Art School. Booker’s practice has roots in German Expressionism, idiosyncratic British painting such as the work of Roy Oxlade, and American abstract expressionism, yet presents a uniquely female point of view and a painterly language of gestural abstraction combined with figurative drawing. Her works are dramatic in their narratives and use of colour and expressionistic in the way they depict form, with her drawn line ranging from naïve to classically conceived. Her paintings are often emotionally charged and are intellectually rigorous in their examination of the history of painting. Booker freely references the human form via erotic imagery, art historical references and personal experience, often fragmenting and desexualising the figure and experimenting with traditional ideas surrounding gender, beauty and love. She describes her work as ‘reclaiming’ Western art history for herself, both as a painter and as a woman. Growing up female and working class in England, Booker had little to no access to art. At a personal level she feels alienated from the history of painting, but as a painter feels deeply connected with it. It is this conflict that she is exploring in her work.
“I am interested in colour, in the process of making a painting through instinctive response and action, and reworking until an image feels right. I am resistant to any form of preconceived end result. Painting, for me, is about understanding what it is I am in dialogue with - in terms of my source material and also the process of painting itself. Every painting is a struggle as I try to figure something out through paint that it is difficult to express in words.
I work a lot from art history as a way of reinterpreting and reclaiming a male dominated tradition for myself and as a female artist. My work often has a wry or subversive undertone. It is predominantly figurative, but I also work with gesture and abstract languages and combine them with figurative drawing. My paintings evolve through a process of trial and error, painting and repainting until I think the picture is a complete thing in itself, so that it is working at a formal level but also has a certain feeling or atmosphere and an element of ambiguity in the image. I begin with an idea of colour and form, but this very quickly evolves as the painting takes over and I become an instrument of the painting itself. My process is entirely intuitive, which makes each painting the result of a battle between my intention for the work and my limitations in working with the material I am using to bring it into being.”