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PHUKET: Kathy Manthei Coulson arrived to Phuket in 1999. She has built her life on the island as an art teacher and a volunteer organizer for the Life Home Project, and has produced a significant body of visual art during the past 15 years.

Her show at Villa Royale Gallery, which will be on display until mid-February 2015 (click here), demonstrates how well she works with a variety of materials not found elsewhere in this part of the world.

“I am always intrigued by the interplay of the earth, the sky and the surrounding sea and in most of my work, I use these colors and refer to the shapes and the changes of light that affect what we see,” Kathy says.

While Kathy’s pieces celebrate the natural beauty of Phuket’s surroundings, what is of great interest is her ability to work with mixed media such as metallic reactive and iron-oxide paint, copper wire, iridescent dichroic glass and a variety of other media.

She says it often takes two months for one of her canvases to settle into their final colors, as she sometimes applies a rust activator to affect her materials. She obviously enjoys the more uncertain, yet magical, aspects of creating her art.

When looking at each piece from a distance, one can fondly see the beauty of Phang Nga Bay and the Andaman region. She has cleverly abstracted these pieces through the layering of different materials, such as strips of sail cloth – which give homage to the history of boating in the region.

Kathy attended the University of California Davis campus, and in the past few years she has returned to learn more about how to use various non-traditional materials to create art.

Her current show is called “Fusions”, which reflects the expansion of her vocabulary regarding unique combinations of art materials.

— Bruce Stanely