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Born: Portland, Oregon
Education: University of Nevada, Reno BFA Fine art—painting and photography; MFA work—photography
I have been making and exhibiting art for most of my life. I work figuratively and abstractly, wandering quite comfortably between the two worlds. My vision is the feeling, the emotion—and it moves to the canvas, or the plaster, or lead, or felt, or whatever, very freely. I see moments in time like a snapshot, and they, and the accompanying emotion become the artworks. Sometimes they are clearly figurative, yet at other times they are abstracted and evolve as conceptual pieces. The figurative work is primarily narrative and the conceptual art often incorporates the same personal/social ideologies that have appeared in the figurative painting and sculpture. Elements of symbolism and metaphor often factor into the work.
I grew up in the country and attended Catholic schools until I was 15. We lived first outside Portland, Oregon then on the beaches in Morro Bay, California. In summers we lived on a ranch and every day was so perfect with discovery. My three brothers and I were happy and free. My life was art. It surrounded me and I sang.
At the University of Nevada, I studied painting and sculpture, then photography. I lived in a place people wanted to be, so I studied with many California artists—Manuel Neri, Robert Arneson, John McCracken. I worked first in sculpture because I had difficulty seeing two dimensionally. I moved into photography and painting later, and finally became comfortable working both two and three dimensionally.
I relate to the work of Francis Bacon, Phillip Guston and Anselm Keifer—drawn to torment and introspective vision, but also to Richard Serra, Agnes Martin, and Doris Salsedo—who work more subtly in expressing real world terrors.
My senior show was censored. "Small Murders" were photo/paintings of moments in time where women dispatched their men. Not really meant to be taken so literally as the college censors took it.
After graduating, I taught photography at the University of Nevada, then after moving to New Mexico I taught drawing and sculpture at the College of Santa Fe. I loved the energy that I got from the students. One of my students from New York bet me $100 that I couldn't teach him to draw. He lost.
I believe in the artist and the vision. My goal is to provide an exhibition venue for as true a vision as I can find. Making and appreciating art helps me to live in an often senseless world, and I want to offer that source of strength and beauty to my clients and visitors.
I think about my own art while commuting from Bernalillo to Santa Fe, where I work as a graphic designer and photographer for the School of American Research. The space and calmness and beauty of the New Mexico landscape always give me ideas for new work.
Art has always filled my life. I have felt this gift since my earliest recollections, and I still feel that being able to make art is my good fortune. I am blessed in this life to know beauty. Maybe this seems insular, but I am not a person who wants to know everything. Edie Brickell said, "I'm not aware of too many things; I know what I know, if you know what I mean. Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep."
Katrina Lasko Gallery
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