In 2015 Kate Downie she was commissioned to create a print based on Edinburgh Printmakers new building, Castle Mills, which at the time was derelict as building work had not yet started. Downie’s approach was to draw on site, producing several sketches and a large scale drawing as the source material.
Although an experienced printmaker Downie had never worked with cyanotype (blueprint) before. Making reference to the historic use of cyanotype for reproducing architectural plans, it felt right to create a cyanotype based on her drawing of Castle Mills, producing a work with the characteristic white line on blue background.
Kate Downie has worked extensively in printmaking since the late 1980s, regularly working with Edinburgh Printmakers. Her work appeared in the exhibition New Commisions, 2019 and 40 Years at EP 67-87 in 2007. Downie produced a stunning edition of cyanotypes to support Edinburgh Printmakers' fundraising drive to launch Castle Mills.
Kate Downie's work explores the concept of ‘La Place’: a point in the land where many roads meet. Her intention is to define these spaces between buildings, areas which she sees as essential to the cultural arena. She finds significance in "non-places", depicted in both urban landscapes and coastal ‘edge-scapes’.
Downie's draftmanship is exemplery, and has a strong sense of movement. Her subject matter is the panorama, often alluding to the continuation of image beyond the boundaries of the image-plane. Kate Downie was born in America of British parentage, but returned to live in the North East of Scotland at the age of 7. She studied at Gray’s School of Art.
Downie has exhibited in Scotland and showcased work in Denmark, France and America. She was President to the Society of Scottish Artist from 2004 to 2006. Downie has established studios in unusual public spaces, including a brewery, a maternity hospital, an oil rig and an island underneath the Forth Rail Bridge. She has taught in art colleges and universities, and has directed major public and community art projects since 1987.
Downie's work appears in many public and corporate collections including the BBC; Adam & Co; GoMA, Glasgow; Gracefield Art Gallery, Dumfries; Aberdeen Art Gallery; Rietveld Kunst Academie, Amsterdam; City of Edinburgh Council; HM The Queen; Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow & New Hall College Art Collection, Cambridge. In 2005 Kate Downie was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, and became a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2008.