Kate Domina is a Toronto based figurative painter. Using children and adolescents as her subjects, she incorporates classical representational oil painting techniques with whimsical and often ambiguous narratives. Her critical theory fixation (Lacan, Freud and Jung specifically) weaves its way into her work, evolving her portraits into studies of human frailty, and often, neurosis
“Children are unapologetically animals. They are purer breeds and darker minds. I believe there is no better vehicle to understanding the human condition than through the eyes and disposition of the young. My subjects are not based on specific people but are composites of several children and youth, of varying ages and expressions. The result is a layered study of youth that captures the essence of adolescence; fear, naivety, omnipotence and paranoia all seep their way into the faces and environments of my subjects. My work is an attempt to revert to a kid then show you my quiet power.” Domina elaborates that the paintings are visual metaphors for how she sees people: “the more I study the human condition, the simpler it seems [as] we are all the same – strange, but pretending not to be.”
Domina firmly believes that the façade of normalcy that people maintain starts early in adolescence where humans become “so generic and unhappy in suits that don’t quite fit”, and encourages youth to step out as individuals. “There never has been, and never will be another you, not in experiences or genetic make-up,” muses Domina – “I believe our individuality is the most valuable part of us.”Like her work may none too gently suggest, Domina marches to the beat of her own drum, and urges all of us to do so through her art: “My message is to let your freak flag fly – that goes for everyone.”
Domina has training from the University of Toronto, Sheridan College and Ontario College of Art and Design and lives and paints in Toronto, Canada.