Katie Short | Forward Moving Fire, June 2015

Artist Spotlight: Katie Short | Forward Moving Fire

There’s always been a contradiction between dream and reality that most people would consider to be surreal. Sculptor Katie Short is no stranger to this notion, and, in fact, has an open conversation with curator and Director Katrina M. Daniels about it. As Katie was installing her show, she talked about the driving force of surrealism that is so richly poured into her work.

As Katie is creating a piece right in front of me with spray paint and a large white cloth that will be shown in the gallery, I ask her if this is something she does/creates at all of her exhibitions. 

Katie: “I did it right on the wall (before). I have the elements and I like to play around. Add to it, take away, rearrange and it makes it (the piece) completely different.”

"I did it right on the wall (before). I have the elements and I like to play around. Add to it, take away, rearrange and it makes it (the piece) completely different."


And The opportunity to create something site specific and manipulate for each show is interesting as well

Katie: “Yes. Its better I think. Keeps it more interesting and playful. And Knowing that its okay that I don’t know exactly whats going to happen.”


Conversations with the curator

You were talking previously about surrealism and about how it is an influence for your work…

Katie: Yes. One of my earliest memories of art was Salvador Dali ‘The Persistence of Memory’ with the melting clocks. I liked it because I didn’t have to learn about it to understand it. I was attracted to it as a seven year old because it was weird and dreamy.”

Conversations with the curator

I can absolutely see that playfulness in your work.

Katie: “Exactly. It’s funny, weird, and has its dark side, but they’re allowed to exist at the same time. I think that’s important and it comes in contact with absurdity. Everybody goes through moments of hopelessness and when you’re in the moment something feels like its forever and later on it’s a completely different world.”

Conversations with the curator

I asked Katie to elaborate on this idea she was speaking of

Katie: “The idea of material phenomenon…I really wanted to see that clock melted in the Salvador Dali painting. And I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes, I just want to show you something you’ve seen before in a different away. I think that’s what surrealism is about. I wanted to see what it was like to destroy an object and make something new out of it and see what those things reflect in our lives. ” 

Conversations with the curator

Did you essentially start playing with objects and see how they work into your personal work?

Katie: “I’ve always been sentimental to objects. Even more so now since we’re on computers all the time. I want to see what happens if I put two objects together and put different processes to them. It’s almost like a third element to subjecting these things. Its the unknown.”

Conversations with the curato

Its interesting to have a conversation about objects because we are on computers a lot but there’s an interesting juxtaposition with the handmade and artisanal glorification again.

Katie: “Yeah you’re right. Its a really important thing that there are people that are still pinning things physically in the world and not just having an idea and paying someone to make it.”

Conversations with the curator

As I agree, Katie continues to elaborate on the loss and importance  of hands on learning and the need for physical artistic expression

Katie: “As far as your sense go sight has been lifted up to the most intellectual level and touch is considered more primal but realistically there’s things you can learn that way that you cant learn in other ways. We stopped doing that and there’s a whole language that is lost because of it. “

Conversations with the curator