There is an African proverb, illustrated by a carved bird on top of a wood staff, which is: “The wise bird looks back to see what has been dropped.”
A central paradox of our culture of want lies in the piles of garbage behind our glittering array of product. Another paradox is our propensity to fall in love with our tragic flaws. The collages that Katherine Powers creates suggest a meditation on dualities: a simple skin covering something complex; the relationship between the substantial and the ephemeral; intuitive and personal artwork made from commercial garbage.
Katherine Powers was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives and works in New York City, where she maintains a private Shiatsu practice and also teaches at Swedish Institute. For many years, Katherine worked in theatrical wardrobe for film production, television, and on Broadway.
As an artist, Katherine has evolved from making sculpture in more traditional materials, to collage, using plastic bags. Her abstract work of the past decade retains the presence and dimension of sculpture. It is influenced by both her experience in theatrical wardrobe and with Shiatsu.
The shapes used in the work are reminiscent of patterns for making clothes and costumes, and reflect the relationship of two and three dimensions. Sewing entered the work as a way to draw and as a means of attaching plastic shapes to paper and acetate. Plastic bags are abundant and as a material offer physicality and shadings of color that are translucent and ephemeral. The insights of Shiatsu inform the subject matter of this artwork. The human structure itself is a combination of a solid, physical body filled with radically differing personal landscapes. Her practice brought her to focus on the subtle immediacy of perception, how it develops and is affected by time and space.