Kate Holcomb Hale


These clay works are impressions taken of objects and architecture within my home. When I sold my childhood home in Buffalo, NY after my father passed away, COVID restrictions prevented me from sifting through and gathering belongings as I would have liked to. The few items I did collect felt incredibly meaningful as a result. There is something about the physicality of holding something your parents once held and used. In response I started making imprints of my home in an effort to recover what I had lost/left behind. I rolled out air-dry paper clay on my kitchen counter then pressed it into woodwork, radiator covers, table legs, etc. Once dry, I'd work into the paper-like surface of the clay with chalk pastel adding color, dimension and pattern. I was attempting to capture and translate memory via fragments of home. My home in Boston became a placeholder for my childhood home in Buffalo. Also inherent to this body of work is a consideration of the value we assign objects (monetary, sentimental, functional) and the labor that is required to look after and archive them. Here one discovers another layer of care and invisible labor that is performed in the absence of our loved ones.

“placeholders” installed at Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham MA

steady (staircase)

enclose (kitchen cabinet)

6.5 x 7.5 x .75 inches, 2022

support (bedside table)

7 x 9 x 2 inches, 2022

protect (radiator cover)

11 x 10.5 x 1 inches, 2022

comfort (hearth)

13.5 x 13.5 x .50 inches, 2022

surround (fireplace mantle/brick)

8.5 x 8 x 1.5 inches, 2022

pinch ( corner )

11 x 11 x 1.5 inches, 2022

stumble (staircase)