ART Habens Contemporary Art Review // Special Issue

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Kate Walker Walker I am currently finishing a collaborative residency project based in New Zealand, on a project with ceramic artist Caroline Earley. Our collaborative work investigates the intersections of ceramics and painting. The oppositions and commonalities of two distinct mediums, ceramics and painting, are explored in a conversation centering around materiality, medium definitions, and boundary crossing. This body of work, Intersexions, explores ideas relating to the construction of gender. How we understand gender is called into question today as gender identity is reexamined. In this collaborative body of work, abstract ceramic forms riff on the language of x y chromosomes, in a manner that is reminiscent of mathematics equations. Inlay narrative line drawing on ceramic forms depict couples involved in ambiguous contact activities. Large cut canvas paintings, referencing objects such as a chain link fence, further extend the x y shapes and the play between the ceramic forms and 2D painting surfaces. While crafted 3D forms become surfaces for 2D drawings, cut canvas painting becomes a sculptural crafted object. I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, involving communities of people in my work as well as exploring an intersection of art and social engagement. Using communication and dialogue as aesthetic strategies, I explore how a dynamic interplay between ‘artist’ and ‘participants’ can take visual form. In my video project, Manual of Arms, 2014, a group of sixteen women perform a series of moves that recall the genre of a band auxiliary. The moves seem at first to be ritual re-enactment of a flag auxiliary or band majorette group, and then develop into a more confrontational “challenge” to the viewer. Instead of an expected ‘prop’, group members hold assault weapon style guns. The resulting clash of references is aimed to create discomfort for the viewer. Questions are raised in the work about the nature of the rituals that surround North American sports culture (cheerleading, band auxiliary, honor guard etc), and the highly gendered roles that have developed in these; as well as the ubiquitous presence of guns in this culture. In recent video projects HooP and Capitol, which involve specific communities of people, questions of social agency and visibility are raised. Seemingly innocuous action or subtle narrative disruptions are used to raise questions about alternate identities, displacing normative cultural hierarchies, values and lifestyles, which are reinforced daily through institutional and media channels. The history of video art as a document of community-based action, as well as its relationship to the artist’s body and to performance is acknowledged and re-evaluated in these works.

Summer 2015

A still from Manual of Arms, 2014, HD single channe

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