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Meet Katie Kirk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Kirk.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in California and started really exploring my artistic interests working in the film industry as a set designer. I was painting everything from paintings and murals to faux stone walls and furniture. This gave me an appreciation for craft and exposure to all kinds of materials and processes.

I moved to Chicago for two years to go to graduate school and received my Masters in Fine Arts in Painting & Drawing from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. It was amazing to be surrounded by other artists and have access to amazing faculty and facilities. This was really where I started incorporating ceramics into my work.

After graduate school, I moved back to Los Angeles where I currently live and work.  I also curate exhbitions in artist-run spaces around LA and most recently particpated in CO-LAB III at the Torrance Art Musuem.  It has been really great to pursue my curatorial objectives through these exhbitions as I’ve been able to meet lots of different people and artists. It’s also been a way for me to contextualize my own art practice within a larger conversation as I often gravitate towards other artists with similar conceptual frameworks for shows.

Please tell us about your art.
I make paintings and ceramics that are a celebration of the body, difference, and materiality. There is often a reoccurring relationship in my work between the parts and the whole that often resolves itself in a teetering form of balance. The paintings are artifacts of my body’s movements and emphasize the materiality of the paint. They are really physical to make–pouring paint, pressing canvases together, and monoprinting large sections. Recently, I’ve been working with dried paint layers collaged onto the canvas. I see these pieces as “skins” pulling them out of the pictorial realm and into the physical. There is a similarity in the way I apply and manipulate paint on the canvas to the way I work with glaze in ceramics.

The layering, stacking, and uncovering found in the paintings is shared in the psychology of the ceramic sculptures. These objects are performative in character and while they are often painted, propped atop a painting, or on the floor in proximity to the paintings, they demand the viewer’s phenomenal scrutiny to be understood. Sometimes the ceramic sculptures take the form of a singular body, while other times they are linear fragments. Finger impressions, texture, and cracks emphasize the physicality and carnal presence of the work.

In my work and life I posit ideas about pleasure and the role of pleasure in art and life. I strive for the experience of the work to be gratifying for the viewer, providing a physical, psychological, and optical whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
One of the biggest challenge facing artists today is how to live fully as an artist while managing financial hardships. Every artist I know has had to deal with this. Whether it’s crushing students loans or being laid off from a job, there’s always something that makes it even harder to find the time, money, and energy to make art. But artists are the most resilient people I know! I personally try to remind myself that being an artist is a long-term commitment and activity–one that constantly, ebbs and flows, as your life happens. I am always thinking about how to make art fit in with my life and how to make life fit in with my art.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can stay posted on my upcoming shows on my website: www.katienicolekirk.com. You can also support my work by attending one of my upcoming shows or scheduling a studio visit if you’re local.

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