Artists  •  Spotlight on...

5 Minutes with Kathleen Rhee

Kathleen Rhee describes her artwork as being an honest inner reflection of her feelings, as well as a representation of the gentle beauty in her surroundings. The Australian painter’s artistic process is unconscious, she allows her intuition to take over and the paintings “come to life on their own.” Creating in an abstract expressionist style, nature is an endless source of inspiration for Rhee, who transfers all of her observations, feelings, and color into each composition.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I always wanted to be an artist. There was never any other option for me. I was born with an innate love of art and was also influenced by an extremely creative family. Visiting galleries as a child was something my father believed important and it was also part of my schooling from the early years and continued into high school. 

Pastel Beach (2021), Kathleen Rhee

Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by? 

I grew up learning about and appreciating the 20th Century Masters, so I have many favorites such as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Frida Kahlo. The color and richness of their work are otherworldly to me.

I have also always been fascinated with abstract art and drawn to post abstract artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Agnes Martin, and Larry Poons. 

Having just completed Postwar Abstract Painting studies with MoMA New York, I have an even greater appreciation and understanding of this movement and genre. It really was an extraordinary time in the history of art and the early makings of abstract art around the world.

Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?  

Socializing and talking about art with my friends and other artists give me much joy, but I do work alone. 

I need to work in isolation, no talking, complete focus on my process. This is a very important part of my practice for the flow of ideas and also for retaining my energy levels mentally and psychically.

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on? 

Finishing my Postwar Abstract Painting studies at MOMA last year has inspired my latest project. I am now working on a large-scale body of work inspired by the artists of this era.  This series will embody my own expressions, process, my love of each artist, and the art of this time.

Pink Beach Day (2021), Kathleen Rhee

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I would definitely be involved in art! I love art history, art galleries, and supporting other artists, so any job in these areas I would be happy with, I would not stray far from the art world at all.

Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire? 

Oh wow, hard question!  It really is a privilege to have my work alongside so many incredibly talented artists from around the world. I admire so many but the vibrant, colorful art of Sebastian Merk is amazing and the work of Susana Aldanondo is very exciting. I would love to have works by both in my own home.

Above and Below Blue & Pink (2021), Kathleen Rhee

What advice could you give to young artists starting out?

Paint every day, the more you paint the better you get.

Follow what your soul wants to create and express. Be yourself, I think this is very important not to worry about what everyone else is doing but to be true to your own artistic journey.

For more artworks by Kathleen Rhee, visit her SINGULART page here