Katherine has exhibited work within many spaces and institutions around Saint Louis, including the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, and The Luminary. She has also performed at MoMA in reference to Martine Syms solo exhibition Projects 106: Incense, Sweaters and Ice. Internationally she was hired to work for ImPulsTanz, the largest contemporary dance festival in Europe, and as their event photographer she worked on photographic and performance projects within the MUMOK, the Weltmuseum, and many other unique venues around Vienna, Austria.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My practice works to physicalize emotions and experiences by constructing pieces that include portrait photography, video works, and choreography. In the process of making subtle changes to my practice I have learned that creating an environment built on intention brings the most disarming feelings to my work. Utilizing the Black body and my own personal Black experience as a place of departure has made me question my own navigation of ownership, inclusion, and authenticity within a contemporary gaze. I draw inspiration from Black glamour, the Black athlete, and most recently, the Church. My practice generally deals in Blackness from my own perspective and I continually search for what it means to produce “Black work.”
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Recently I have a video work in the group show, Almost Now, Just Then at Projects + Gallery in Saint Louis. I also just performed and had a Q&A at MoMA in reference to Martine Syms solo exhibition Incense, Sweaters and Ice. Currently I am focusing on trial and error in my studio with new sculptural works that use ready made material utilizing the same concepts of the Black athlete and Black glamour.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? I mean… how loud can I yell funding? lol, but in all seriousness… funding. I just think there is not a lot of trust of artists in being looked at as an investment in someone’s career. At least not currently in Saint Louis, I am a part of a group called Citizen Artist Saint Louis that is trying to talk to local politicians and institutions on what we can do to aid in changing the current climate of funding.
How did your interest in art begin? Well, I started out with dance at the age of 3 and continued with it through college. I have always been better at understanding things visually and communicating through my work. I’ve used making things visually to navigate my own emotions throughout my life.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I make work that is meant to physicalize emotion through photo, video, and performative works.
Guilty pleasures? Law and Order: SVU, Mangonanda (really anything mango right now lol), selfies (I don’t feel guilty for this though, it’s all pleasure), going to Jo Ann’s fabric store and trying to use as many coupons as possible on expensive fabric.
What are you listening to right now? LSDXOXO- Lady Vengeance
If you had not become an artist what do you think you would be doing? I don’t know. Probably still serving at a brunch spot like I was before or working a 9-5.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? Blue Black, which was curated by Glenn Ligon at The Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
What do you collect? I collect a lot of dead flowers from bouquets people have given me. Also, fabric.
What’s your favorite thing about St. Louis? The close knit art community is what keeps me in Saint Louis as well as the accessibility to art institutions in the area. I also really love the Chinese food we have.
What is your snack/beverage of choice when working in your studio? I really don’t eat while I’m in the studio. I mainly just drink sparkling water while I’m working.
What do you do when you’re not working on your art? Eating, reading, watching The Office reruns, or karaoke.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? A young black woman came into my studio one day and looked at one of my photos and told me that the woman in one of my photos was her cousin. I had just ran into the woman in the photo on the street for my “Ask Her How She’s Doing” series and took a photo of her and a friend with her baby and had no idea who she was. And two years later a stranger walks in and sees a family member of hers in a 30×40 print on my studio wall. It was pretty powerful for me.