Briefly describe the work that you do.
I am currently working on a series of ink drawings. I have a background in ceramic sculpture and my brain is wired to think in 3-D, so it is interesting to see what forms emerge while working within a 2-D format.
In all the work I do, whether it is sculptural, two dimensional, or video based, I aim to use many small marks, images, and movements to create complexity and depth within a fairly simple form.
At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?
I’ve had a desire to be an artist since high school. A friend of mine was very talented and I wanted to do what she was doing. It wasn’t until I took a ceramics class at a community college that I knew for sure I wanted to be an artist, and that I could be an artist. It was then I that learned that my mind thinks in 3-D and my prime sensory stimulation is through touch. With the support and encouragement from a couple of core faculty members I saw my potential and ability to create the artist identity I had previously just dreamed about.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
For all of my life my family has owned a dry cleaning business. I spent my childhood playing and building things out of laundry carts, hangers, boxes, machine parts, and press covers. My association with industrial equipment and close family ties comes through in my images. Also, growing up in a small family owned business has influenced the way I regulate my artistic practice. Continual care, maintenance, investment, and courageous exploration are necessary in developing an independent dry cleaning business and in developing an artist’s career.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
The underlying constant in all of the different bodies of work I have done is how one object’s change or action affects those outside of itself. This conceptual concern seems to be most apparent in my ceramic pieces that involve manipulating cloth and clay together. The clay starts off soft, while the fabric is starts off sturdy. When the two materials are combined they become both pliable and firm. Once fired in the kiln, the cloth burns and leaves ashes as well as its mark on the clay. After the firing, the clay is sturdy, but brittle and fragile.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
I agree and disagree with Chuck Close. I agree that continually working hard is necessary for artistic development. When inspiration does come, you are ready to deal with it. Studio practice is like maintaining a long term loving relationship. It needs continuous care and attention, and may not always be hearts and roses. When inspiration does come, it is well worth the continual care, practice, and maintenance that have been invested.
What artists living or non-living influence your work?
My husband, Xi Zhang, is a painter. Though our styles, methods and materials are very different, my work is very much influenced by seeing his work every day. Other artists who influence my work are: Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor, Michael Lucero, and Linda Lopez.
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
I’m currently pursuing a Master of Science in Art Therapy, so between graduate school and my studio practice, there is not much time for other activities. I have recently found that when I do have time, I really enjoy gaming. I am also trying to learn how to write code. I love playing with my cats, and my husband and I are constantly on the hunt for good thriller movies.
Kathryn Wingard is an artist residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who is currently a Master of Science candidate in the Art Therapy department at Mount Mary University. Though she now works in several different media, Kathryn has a fine arts background in sculptural ceramics. In 2008 she graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in fine arts 3-D, with a concentration in ceramics. After graduating, she left Boston and went on to continue studying fine arts with the graduate department of ceramics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. While in Colorado, Kathryn was a resident artist at the Paukune Wanner Art Hause in Severance, Colorado, and the Showpen Residency in Denver, Colorado. Kathryn has shown in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Illinois, as well as internationally.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.