Sound and Colour: Katy Dove at DCA

Sarah Park describes visiting the Katy Dove exhibition opening at the DCA. Sarah Park is a 2nd year Art History student who is super jazzed about collaborating with Label this year, and loves chatting about art when not binge-watching Community or The X-Files. Other interests include dogs, making SNL references and Instagram (@sarahpark_)

Last week some friends and I attended the opening of the Katy Dove exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts.  For those who don’t know (me being one of those until recently), Dundee is a locus for creativity and has a buzzing art community, and DCA is one of several examples.  The selections on display celebrate the life and works of Dove, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 44.  Her work spans multiple media ranging from paintings and collages to prints and animations that juxtapose colour, sound and shapes to create an immersive viewer experience.  We had a brief chat with the exhibition’s curator Graham Domke, who knew the artist personally and explained to us Dove’s passion for integrating music and rhythm into her art.

Oxford-born and Highlands-raised, Dove had a strong connection to the natural world, which is evident in her work; she frequently incorporated sounds and images from nature into her animations.  Dove graduated with a BA from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art after studying Psychology in Glasgow, and the DCA exhibition demonstrates her interest in perception and colour theory. 

For me, the coolest thing about Katy Dove’s work is her clear dedication to art as an all-encompassing discipline.  She created music with groups like Muscles of Joy and used original compositions for her animations, layering guitar riffs with enchanting vocals that culminate in a totally mesmerising effect.  Dove’s style flaunts Fauvist colour palettes and Kandinsky-esque shapes.  Her watercolour paintings and collages are spirited but deliberate, and all of her pieces on display show movement, like a two-dimensional Calder mobile.  I didn’t get to spend much time in the exhibition as we arrived just before it closed, but for the few minutes that I spent sitting in front of Dove’s moving images I was transfixed. Her hypnotic animations I can only describe as what you see after looking into the sun too long, with coloured spots dancing behind your eyelids.  Apart from the artwork, the exhibition hall was organised in a way that made it feel spacious but intimate.  Overall, everything was very well-executed and I definitely want to go back to spend some more time immersed in Dove’s animated world.

This exhibition is free admission and runs until the 20th of November, so I would encourage you to make the short excursion to Dundee before it closes!  It is really worth seeing and DCA is fantastic.   

For more information on the exhibition: 

For more information on the artist: 

Words and pictures by Sarah Park. Pictures by Vienna Kim.