Artist: Katia Swihart
Exhibition: Description of a Struggle
Media: mixed media; oil, plastic, paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Katia Swihart is a California State University of Long Beach and will graduate this spring with a studio art -drawing and painting bachelor’s degree. As a young child, Katia has always loved art and practiced art. She shared that she realized that art was her passion and love when she won an award for her artwork in second grade. With that being said, this influenced her to explore her love for art. On the other hand, she also has other interests, like, poems, comic books, and sports. These interests also influenced her artworks
Katia starts her process as an artist like an actor as she channels her emotional condition like anger and grief. She uses these strong emotions from her personal experiences and challenges to innovate her works with colors and design. As a result, her artworks display very emotive and compelling components that draw the audience’s reactions and attention. For instance, Katia shared her personal relationship with her father. She explains that her father has always been a role model for her, however, he is also one of her biggest critics and denounced her choice of pursuing art. Moreover, she also explores her conflicted sexuality, childhood and body image in her exhibit. With that being said, Katia uses polychromatic palate that portrays a playful first impression to more dismal and daunting feelings. Furthermore, she uses structures and materials that represent broken and conflicting implications in her life
One of the works in the exhibit that caught my eyes was the Father’s Metamorphosis. The piece was made a mattress, acrylic paint, comics and plastic sword. The matters were destroyed and torn apart but were colored with vibrant colors, consisted of comic books and parachute hanging off the mattress. The destroyed mattress represents her suppressed childhood, which reflected her relationship with her father and can also represent her own journey to coming terms with her father. The comic books deeply tucked into her mattress portrayed her love for art and the parachute hanging off seemingly look like a cape that represents her own heroism of pursuing art that she loved as a child.
I appreciated Katia’s openness about her personal life and conflicts in her interview and her exhibit. I think this what made interested and connected with artworks because I see myself in her work. I can connect my own struggles with her own and her art. She made me feel not alone and realize the conflicts and struggles are temporary and heartbreaking, yet can be beautiful and inspiring.