We all put on facades and are pushed to conform to ideals of the society around us. As a result, my artwork continues to evolve and change according to my influences and life experiences. In my past work, I have envisioned myself as the heroine or victim of constrained and perplexing narratives. These color-‐driven alter egos directly and unapologetically impacted the viewer’s space due to the life size scale of their cutout installations. Mimetic oil paint renderings combined with found or constructed three-‐ dimensional elements demand viewers to look more closely at the details of these self-‐ portraits to decipher the truth of the artifice.
With a recent body of “Steam Punk” work, I have continued to tease viewers with illusions of paint and mixed media, but on a much smaller scale and with images of others in place of myself. With this series of portraits, I utilize an industrial age aesthetic, metallic surfaces, and three-‐dimensional elements (such as metal gears, clocks, and clock parts) to portray and expound upon humanity’s superficial qualities – both lavish and gaudy. In “Teatime?” for example, the combination of gold paint, a gold watch, and gold as an intangible epitome of wealth and success introduces a conversation between wandering associations. This forced dialogue acts as a visual metaphor intended to jumble together the viewer’s own hierarchy of values. The resulting small-‐scale portraits are lavishly framed and require an intimacy of close viewing from the audience that verges on adoration of spiritual or historical icons. These fictitious characters, though garbed in Victorian era fashion, highlight problems present in our world today, such as environmental waste, technology, and the power of the rich one percent.
Much of the work I have made up until this point deals with transparency of character and the revelation of social impressions, both superficial and submerged. To continue this stream of thought in a new light, I am currently developing a series of paintings based on my own reference images of underwater figures. In this “Submerged” series, I experiment with layers of glass, Plexiglas, paint, and resin while emoting each subject’s expression ironically in order to shed light on the dark realities lurking beneath the surface. In the wake of today’s political unrest, this new series playfully addresses the idea of holding one’s breath – whether in a situation of conflict or in the hope for something better. Whether depicting identity politics within my family, within a crowd of strangers, or within my own head, each whimsical figure pushes the boundaries of convention in two and three dimensions, challenging preconceptions of beauty and morality.
To view my work at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery visit http://www.abigailogilvy.com/katie-wild