The imagery in my work is based on actual objects — Victorian taxidermied furniture, handmade pillowcases, artificial grottoes, and old valentines. They belong to the material culture of sentiment which, as an artist, I reclaim to narrate my sorrow and anxiety about catastrophic environmental degradation.
These works use the language of kitsch, that is the feminized language of sentiment and nostalgia, to highlight the disconnect in the way we relate to and interact with the natural world. As a personal form of expression, I find in kitsch the ability to wax poetic about that which I cannot fully express in words alone. It is a form of remembrance, a spiritual practice that is historically embedded in the industrial revolution, capitalism and our very removal from nature itself.
The imagery of consumption, of body and of ritual is woven throughout the work: I imagine gardens that won’t grow without human intervention, spray cheese cake turned into natural wonder, and sentiment served and plated for human consumption.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Katherine Burling is an artist based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her practice incorporates a love of material culture and collected objects. She is inspired by feelings of loss and chaos, oftentimes personal as well as social, ecological, and political. Her work draws from images and objects that carry a sweet, old-world nostalgia, employed as a metaphor for that which is lost, threatened and woefully cherished. Burling holds an MFA from James Madison University.
© Katherine Burling