November 6, 2016

Artist Profile | Kat Shevchenko

Kat Shevchenko is the featured artist at Provenance Gallery during the month of November. The series of paintings on view in her exhibition, Crux, is the story of the feminine archetype: the animus’ story of self realization and the possibility that the hope of transformation offers.  

Of this series of work, Shevchenko writes: "The paintings are all developed from sketchbook drawings that I did during a turbulent time in my life, where a lot of self introspection and uncertainty was rampant. They embody different moods-I felt the need to express them more stylistically, to represent a feeling, coming from a more intuitive realm, all are different facets exploring the transformative theme.  I plan to  keep exploring the Feminine in a more surrealistic narrative fashion for my future bodies of work, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface."

La Mystica, oil/egg tempera on panel, 18 x 24 in., 2015, Image Courtesy of the Artist.
What are some of the influences on your work and artistic practice?
I used to be overly fixated with perfectionism with painting flawlessly and rendering every minute detail. Yet working in that manner has made me feel like I was missing something.  Reminiscing about how one of my past teachers was very encouraging to be savage and expressive with the physicality of the paint just being paint.  Now I am endeavoring to just to let experimentation, surprise and chance happen serendipitously and let myself go for change. And to let the painting breath with a life of its own, rather than get hung up on overly planning every step methodically.       

What drives you as an artist? What are you passionate about that you're able to express through your art?
Someone once said that we are all bumping into the threads of a myth that has already been woven, I long to bring forth some clarity to the ones within my reach.  This existence is fleeting and the ability to be able to express something that was unfathomable a moment ago is what keeps me enchanted with the art making process.  When I receive feedback from someone that  says they see something in the finished work that I unconsciously was unaware of-it is revelatory, it’s like the missing piece of the puzzle falling into place completing the cycle.  

Tempest, oil/egg tempera on panel, 12 x 9 in., 2016, Image Courtesy of the Artist.

Where you do find inspiration?
Mainly natural science and cosmology have been bewildering me and keeping me wondering.  I was recently reading the essays of Carl Sagan, in one he describes how it is unfathomable to know a grain of salt, due to all the billions of atoms and their positions our mind can only hold onto one percent of that much information.  I am completely enthralled with digesting tidbits like that.  It’s the strange facts I’ll collect and stow away for later, like I was thinking about how a caterpillar completely breaks down its body as it transforms inside the chrysalis and how I could show that in a human expression. Natural curiosity of the world, culture, history, myth, metaphysics, cosmology, books, everything provides fuel for me, but nature always reigns supreme.

Which artists do you admire most, and why?
I have always truly admired Francisco de Goya, because I feel he is the first artist to truly step into the path of the modernist who unflinchingly depicted atrocities through nightmarish visions of the events and upheavals he experienced in his lifetime.  When I discovered Spanish painter Remedios Varo, I was enchanted with the multilayered approach that she used in her paintings with refined symbolism and allegory. She was intriguing being one of the pioneering female painters with an unique voice during that time; learning about  her life story was also equally fascinating.  From fleeing Spain’s Civil War to meeting the Surrealists in Paris, then having to escape France due to the World War and finally resettling in Mexico, her perseverance to not abandon her artistic pursuit despite the perilousness of life’s events was a testimony to the endurance of the creative spirit.    

Small Victory (Passion Triumphant), oil/egg tempera, 12 x 9 in., 2016, Image Courtesy of the Artist
You can view her current exhibition Crux at Provenance Gallery until November 27th, by appointment. Visit her website, or follow her on instagram @Kosmosofkat to stay up to date on her current projects.