In a world turned upside-down, what does it take to find curiosities and pleasure in our surroundings? How do we reconcile our inner and external lives, when so much turmoil surrounds us? It’s hard to find peace, to still the mind, settle anxieties. A new liminal space is created, “the apartment,” now a transitory space for work and relaxation, pleasure, exploration, making, stillness, and living. In this confined space, there is still freedom to be found. Thoughts turn inward, a richness of inner life, and lean into the work that has always buoyed me: the calming, repetitive work of weaving. Cloth has become a canvas for working through mental tensions, for finding comfort, reveling in small imperfections, and delving into riotous color to delight the senses. This cloth is a living record of time– not a waiting period, but a moment of great change that I’ll never turn back from. Instead, this stillness is now woven into the fabric of my work.
This series of weavings centers on walking as its impetus. Mindless walks, within pre-ordained street boundaries, repeated every night for a summer of nowhere to go. The colors were foraged on these nightly walks, bit-by-bit, like a magpie. The act of scavenging color from nature serves as a method of self-preservation. The amazing ranges of color become the canvas for dreamscapes, surreal objects, and meditations on current events. Queer glittering sensibilities are reigned in, morphing into a quiet opulence of pleasure in small things, centered in the interplay of pattern and ground and color.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Katie Vota is a Chicago-based artist utilizing traditional textile techniques to create sculptural objects and woven dreamscapes that engage viewers in ideas of touch, pleasure, interpersonal exchange, and the role of the individual in shaping identity.
Vota received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2010, magna cum laude) and a Studio MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015). She was awarded a US Student Fulbright Grant (’11-’12) to study traditions of Andean Back-strap Weaving and Natural Dyeing in Cusco, Peru, with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.
Vota has exhibited in numerous solo and juried exhibitions, at venues including Threewalls (Chicago), The Leroy Neiman Center Gallery (Chicago), Pratt MPW School of Art Gallery (Utica, NY), The Krasl Art Center (St. Joseph, MI), The Indianapolis Art Center (Indianapolis), and Area 405 (Baltimore). She is a Lenore Tawney Foundation Scholar, a Chicago DCASE grantee, and has participated in residencies such as Corner Gallery’s Individual Artist Residency, CAC Field Work Residency, and Crosshatch (formerly the Institute for Sustainable Art and Natural Design) in Traverse City, MI.
© Katie Vota