KATE HIGLEY: PAINTING BENEATH THE SURFACE
GREAT BAY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
320 CORPORATE DRIVE
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE
THROUGH MARCH 2
by Linda Chestney
Living life on the edge artistically — that’s how I describe Kate Higley. She pushes past fear, embraces change and lives life large. She has the unusual ability to enliven the right brain and left brain simultaneously.
Higley — whose experience is diverse — loves art and loves biology. But for practical reasons early on in her life, she chose to study nursing. She immersed herself in biology, anatomy and physiology, ultimately working alongside surgeons where she was spellbound by the intricacies and colors of the human body. She was mesmerized with blood traveling through vessels, which caused organs and structures to pulse in extraordinary color. Absorbingly fascinating.
Over her career, Higley has taught and studied biology while pursuing her love of printmaking and painting, earning a multi-disciplinary master’s degree at Wesleyan University. But as life changed — her husband took a job in Saudi Arabia — she found herself in the Middle East, where she was captivated by the beauty of the landscape. It was there she began printmaking, exhibiting her work in galleries and shows.
Eventually, the family returned to the United States, settling in the Washington, D.C. area. There, Higley taught near the National Institutes of Health and periodically exhibited her work in its hallowed halls. Many of her pieces sold at these shows because the viewers readily recognized her work. The cell-like structures; highly imagined subcellular forms; fleshy, pulsating muscle and organ shapes moving from macro to micro were something the cardiologists, biologists and others in that professional environment related to better than most.