Natasha Kimstatsch

Temptations of St.Anthony, triptych 90×300 Totally divided by 3 canvas Oil on herringbone custom-stretched canvas

Natasha Kimstatsch  sent us paintings drawing from  Scottish history, Greek myth , slasher films and nudie magazines.  Recalling the films of George Kuchar or Kenneth Anger as much as préraphaélite painters, Natasha is based in Edinburgh. We spoke with Natasha  about her  work and its roots in alchemy.  Please click through for a short profile. 

 

Butterbiggens: lets start with  The Temptation of St Anthony.

Natasha Kimstatsch:

It is my one and only opus magnum, a classical form of cartoon when the story goes from one painting to another. The first one is called Tower of Babel, it is the pyramid growing out of  the spine while St Anthony is convulsively lying on a pictish star map depicting the star of Bethlehem. The second has frescos from Grantully chapel in Aberfeldy with pregnant angels and virgin nurturing a baby girl (from real life) where an apparition of Queen of Sheeba is tempting him with fake pregnancy. And third, when St Anthony overcomes temptations in form of colourful hallucinations gathers his power in cosmic or orphic egg, painted next to St Anthony chapel pointing to Christianity as final stop

 

BB

Lots of subtle Scottish landscapes in these paintings, like the Calydonian boar hunt with Edinburgh castle in the background

 

NK 

Now Calydonian boar hunt, There is a sculpture of Calydonian boar in Florence where I lived.

I made a connection with Scotland as it is often depicted as a land of eternal youth due to golden apples. The story is taken from antiquity where a goddess is not worshipped well and she releases an angry boar on people of Calydonia. So virgin (she is painted by my friend Sophie by memory, red hair) Atalanta together with heroes conquer the boar. it symbolises social problems of Scotland, disagreements in political arena, bad management etc,

The Calydonian Boar hunt, 50×100, oil on canvas

BB

Your Selection of Myths includes Ozma of Oz and there is a lot of Alchemical or Gnostic symbolism in the Oz books, and you studied alchemical symbolism

 

NK 

Yes. Ozma of Oz and Thyl Ullenspiegel, These are imaginary self-portraits. Thyl Ullenspiegel is a clown who lost his father, a knight templar, and goes around with ashes in a bottle, an owl and a mirror for others to see the truth. Ozma is again the good virgin. There is nothing connecting the two, just my favourite characters. Yes, just read Your previous comment. I depict a certain modern situation or character as a mythological creature or fable or as a gnostic archetype, which i see in a model as real life. All my paintings have models who inspired them, either with live sittings or by memory, i am saying inspired because I conceal facial distinction.

Self portrait as Ozma of OZ and Thyl Ulenspiegel 50 x 60cm, lead stick on paper

NK 

I studied alchemical symbolism with Adam MacLain, He lives in Glasgow and has a gallery and online school. I studied two online courses which I highly recommend and I met him in person at occult in Art conference in Cambridge, and we talked a lot on a train back.

 

BB

Do you think of painting as part of an occult practice itself?

 

NK 

Yes. He also introduced me to the art world of Robert Lenkiewic who painted several thousand pieces without making any money and had a collection of 2000 alchemical texts. He is now dead, but due to him i got courage to move to big scale more of free movement colourful piece i studied for a year in Florence and they teach one source light imitating candle light. To Your question. Painting is a long process, and a finished piece is an alchemical initiation.

 

BB

That’s an interesting way to phrase it

 

Natasha Kimstatsch and Ben Duax in conversation
Natasha Kimstatsch and Ben Duax in conversation

NK 

It takes lots and lots of research, and finding some clues. Might sound mad, but for example how I got the idea for Boar hunt. I found a shiny coin on an Edinburgh street, and when i went down to pick it up, i felt it is glued and is shiny from all people rubbing it, so i remembered the nose of boar in Florence which is shiny just like that and it struck like it is reaching out from Florence, so i read and researched the story. I have now moved to sculpture. I felt i needed to take some air after St Anthony, and am taking one-to-one studies in monumental sculpture, but currently am working on sketching the pose, it will be a highland Dancer in bronze

 

BB

 It seems in line with your art historical references , interesting in Alchemy and so on

NK 

…the hands, they are carved in marble, called Prayer. They are my first not too good quality, but they were inspired by prayer hands by Durer, only they are flat turned in another position

BB

The body is bronze and the hands are marble?In ancient Greece they’d have glass eyes in some of the statues or the stone Bhuddas in Bamiyan that had wooden faces that rotted away..

 

NK 

Marble and bronze are two different materials, so those are different works i was talking about. 

I was at short portrait class with University  of Washington summer school in Rome and we went to see a Vatican sculpter working on repairs of Perseus holding Medusa’s head. He said on dismantling there is lots of charcoal inside it, and tar. So they think the head of medusa was put on fire inside, so that marble eyes would shine.

BB

I  ask everyone  who you consider to be under rated, like an artist who’s maybe overlooked 

 

NK 

Under-rated and everyone agrees is Robert Lenkiewitz, one can buy his painting now at flea marked for one hundred pounds, but he is really a vibrant, colourful, virile, i would say, individual.

BB

Last thing- Is there something that you think of a guilty pleasure, like a bad artist or trash tv or whatever, that you love?

NK 

Paying a personal model for posing, That was guilty pleasure. The Wicker man is a cult classic, but the human sacrifice you might consider a cheesy part. old playboys for models, but is a classic as well- I once had an idea to go to a strip show, pay for entrance, and draw girls in motion.

See more of Natasha’s work Here 

interview by Benjamin Duax , June 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.