Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, Exhibition Review

The Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, opened at the Gilcrease Museum on October 6, 2017 and runs through January 7, 2018.

The exhibition portrays the major points in the artist’s life and how her artistic style was influenced by them. Her earliest pieces are composed mainly of figures using a color-blocking technique with graphic and bold colors. She then moves away from figures and creates abstract paintings. This was my favorite part of the exhibition, because the artist used acrylic paint and melted wax to create marks and geometric shapes on the canvas. Her pieces portrayed depth and movement while continuing to stay minimal. She then created diptychs, which are paintings created in pairs. The diptychs are a great way to explain what abstract art is. One painting is a realistic rendition of a landscape, while the second is the abstract interpretation. It is noticeable while going through the exhibition that the artist’s mood shifts dramatically. Her use of color starts to lean toward darker hues and her marks become more angular and dramatic.

The layout of the exhibition was well thought out and it’s obvious that a lot of time went into each room and how they would flow together. Each room shows a different aspect of the artist’s life and how her work was influenced by it. At the end of the exhibition the viewer can see that the artist’s last pieces are a combination of all her styles. There are figures, landscapes, geometric shapes, and diptychs portrayed in the final rooms. It brings a sense of unity to the exhibition. If you have time, you should definitely go and experience her work before it closes.


Molly McVey

Museum Science and Management Graduate Student


My Favorite Pieces:

(Photos taken from the Gilcrease Museum website)

Chief Joseph series (1974-76)
Venere Alpina (1997)
Eternal Chaos/ Eternal Calm (1993)
New Mexico Desert (2011)
A Sensual Suggestion (1974)