K A T F L Y N
17 April 2019 (New Orleans, LA) JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY is pleased to announce White Noise, the first solo exhibition of San Diego-based assemblage artist Kat Flyn. A finalist of the 2018 NO DEAD ARTISTS International Juried Exhibition, Flyn expands on her earlier work and presents a collection of assemblage sculptures that simultaneously reflect on the past and create a commentary on contemporary issues of racism, misogyny, climate change, and LGBT rights. The exhibition will be on view from 17 April to 23 May 2019 and an opening reception will be held on Saturday 4 May from 6 to 11 pm in conjunction with Arts District New Orleans’ (ADNO) annual Jammin' on Julia arts and culture festival.
The artist elaborates on her artistic process and the inspiration for these assemblages...
I am an assemblage sculptor but I construct, more than assemble, my works. I search out collectibles, artifacts and wood carvings and then build scenes to make statements regarding American society. Even when I use artifacts from earlier centuries, my subject is almost always about contemporary America. Social injustice, racism, sexism, and violence - aspects of our national psyche that exist in the present but have their seeds in our past. Additionally, the artifacts I use are often meant to amplify the meaning of the work. For instance, the Black wood figures I use in many of my pieces represent stereotypes from the past that were crafted from the White imagination. By using such artifacts, I ask: What kind of society produces such items in the first place?
I make a strict distinction between found objects and saved objects. A found object - which most assemblage artists use in their works - is devoid of intrinsic or emotional value, having been discarded by its owner as worthless or broken. A saved object, on the other hand, has a retained value, either because it was intrinsically valuable or because emotional value had been invested into it (such as a photograph, an old shoe, a vintage toy). Consequently, such objects were saved rather than discarded. The fact that I use only “saved objects” sometimes results in viewers being attracted to the individual pieces within my works rather than seeing the narrative I am attempting to portray.
The pieces in this exhibition stretch from my early works, such as my Ghost Portrait Series - where I attempt to capture a sense of what life might have been like for the person imagined in each work – right up to my current work, which I loosely label, “Ripped From The Headlines.” In these more recent pieces, I deal with contemporary issues. A unifying theme that emerges from this body of work is the idea that for us to resolve so called “contemporary issues,” we must first recognize that their origins exist in our past. I describe myself as a White-Anti-Racist- Feminist-Artist. My sympathies almost always reside with the underdog, so these works highlight the rigged institutionalized aspects of our culture, which have led us to our present state. Many deal with racism, but many also deal with other pressing topics, such as climate change (Extinction and Nesting Ground), misogyny (Lady Parts, Medusa and The Last Lily Foot), LGBT rights (Marriage Equality and Butch), immigration (The Wall and Land of Opportunity), and war (Home by Christmas, Ammo Box and Like Father, Like Son).
My visual style of presentation lies somewhere between cartoonish and folk art. This might seem at odds with the underlying seriousness of the subject matter, however, I have found that viewers' initial response to my work is more favorable when I visually phrase my topic in this way. I want viewers to pause long enough to look past the art and see into the narrative…
Kat Flyn is a self-taught assemblage artist working presently out of San Diego. She began her career as a costume designer in Southern California. Over the years she has amassed a trove of artifacts and collectibles, which she began using to create assemblage art in the 1990s. In 2000 she sold her business and moved to Cuyamaca, a remote community in the mountains outside of San Diego to devote herself exclusively to her artwork. In 2003 her work was interrupted when the Cedar Fire swept through San Diego county and destroyed the forest, her home & studio along with almost all of her collections and works of art. Following the fire she relocated to San Francisco, where she spent a decade concentrating on her art in her studio in SOMA and exhibiting at galleries in the Bay Area. In 2015 she returned to San Diego and now works out of her studio in La Jolla, exhibiting there and in Los Angeles.
Kat Flyn refers to herself as an Assemblage Sculptor and her works as Political Art or Protest Art. She separates herself from other assemblage artists in that she only employs “saved” as opposed to “found” objects in her work; and her pieces always have a political or cultural narrative to them rather than being surreal or abstract. She also constructs or refashions many of the pieces which she uses in her art – a soft drink box into a tenement building (Affordable Housing, 2017), a jewelry box into a wheel chair (Last Lily Foot, 2016), an old shoe shine box into a hearse (Katrina, 2018). The result is her work is closer in appearance to Folk Art than Assemblage Art.
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