Natasha Kidd

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Personal statement

Natasha Kidd is currently undertaking a practice based D-phil at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, University of Oxford.

The title of her research is: Machines that make art: An exploration of the practice and history of the removal of the artists expressionist touch through the use of automatic or mechanical modes of production.

Situated within an extended language of painting, Natasha's work has continually involved the production of systems machines or that paint. This practice based research emerges out of her desire to make visible the process, action and event of painting itself and to place the viewer directly in the site of production.

The Painting Machines (2000-2005) use a motor to dip a canvas into a vat of white paint. With each mechanical dip a new layer of paint adheres to the canvas surface. Dipped for sustained and varying lengths of time, no two paintings from the machines have ever been the same. Questioning the meditative silence of the act of painting the machines raises a provocative inquiry around the diminished responsibility of the artist, authenticity and authorship.

Over-Flow (Celeste Painting Prize 2006), Flow and Return (Lowry Commission 2006) and Rough-In (Arts council funded 2010) are painting systems developed with reference to the structural practicalities of domestic plumbing. These works feed paint through a network of copper pipes to a hidden reservoir within a specifically constructed aluminium panel. As this reservoir fills, the paint overflows through holes cut in the surface. The residual paint is fed back to a tank to start its journey again. Animated by the paint that flows down their surface these, paintings are in constant motion, whether or not they are encountered and until the machine is switched off.

In the more recent Inflate systems (commissioned by Camden Arts Centre 2010), a peristaltic pump moves paint from a tank through a plastic tube into a paintings belly. Filling the paintings from the inside out, the paint forces the canvas to expand until it seeps out of holes cut in the surface of the linen. With each action of the pump the paint drips down the front of the painting to collect in the tank below. These works hang on the wall like an image but function like an object protruding into the spectators visual field. When they are stopped each painting acts as a memory of its own performance. When it dries on the surface the paint seems to capture the moment of its previous liquidity.

No matter how rigorously designed the systems are, they become something that can never be fully anticipated.

Since completing her MFA in painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1998, Natasha has exhibited her work widely throughout the UK. Her first solo show Microswitch was at The Houldsworth Gallery, London.

Group exhibitions have included:

  • Same as it Ever Was, Chelsea Space, London
  • New Contemporaries at the first Liverpool Biennale and The Beaconsfield Gallery, London
  • One Mile's Time, Temple Bar Gallery Dublin
  • British Abstract Painting, Flowers East Gallery, London
  • Playing Fields, Laing Gallery, Newcastle and
  • Wunderkammer, The Usher Gallery, Lincoln.

Commissions have included Flow and Return for The Art of White Exhibition at the Lowry. More recent projects include:

  • In With The New, at Camden Arts Centre (2010)
  • Mob Remedies (2010) at Primo Alonso, London
  • Interior Life (2010) at the Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury which included a publication and artist talk about extended painting practice and
  • Uncommon Ground at Meinblau Gallery, Berlin.

In addition to this studio based research, Natasha is part of a pedagogic research group at Tate Modern. The group aims to look at the role and value of artists working within educational settings and consider how working with artists and artists practices genuinely informs the content and structure of learning at Tate and beyond. As part of this project she has developed, in collaboration with artist Jo Addison, a publication/resource to co-inside with the John Baldessari exhibition and a number of seminars for artists/students and teachers. In Spring 2012, Addison and Kidd developed the resource 'e', to accompany the Alghiero Boetti retrospective at Tate. In December 2012 Addison and Kidd's live resource event at Tate Modern expanded the methodology established by 'e'. For two days, live in the gallery they invited the audience to join them in the research/production of a continually changing educational resource. Not pre-written at the point of dispatch, the live resource promoted responsive interactions between artists, audience and art objects. 

Natasha is a senior lecturer in Fine Art Painting at the school of Art and Design.

She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She is an associate lecturer on BA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design and has taught as a visiting lecturer across disciplines at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent University, Newcastle School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art.

Academic qualifications

  • BA Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (UCL)
  • MFA Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (UCL)
  • PG Cert in learning and teaching CTLAD, University of the Arts

Professional qualifications

  • PG Cert in Learning and Teaching (Distinction), CTLAD, University of the Arts, London

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, January 2008

Teaching specialism

  • Fine Art Painting

Research and academic outputs

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