Sculpture & Shadow Installations/Videos

Invasive Species series, mixed media sculpture, shadow and video installations, 2019 - ongoing

This multidisciplinary series attempts to self-reflexively interrogate the escapsim used by tourists or the nostalgia of diasporic communities to transfigure the world around me, creating a gaudy, fantasy world full of beauty and farce. What does an escape look like for someone entrenched in the reality of this region – can its beauty be enjoyed or celebrated while also problematizing the exploitation of the Caribbean, pushing back against a one-dimensional reading of this space?

Enmeshment, stop motion animation with hand-beaded seashells and mixed media sculpture, 2 mins 17 secs to be played on a loop, 2020

Statement about Enmeshment:

‘Enmeshment’ is psychological concept which describes relationships where boundaries have eroded, leading to toxic emotional co-dependency or an “unhealthy symbiosis.” This immersive piece uses a combination of organic/inorganic elements to create an alternate lens for viewing a tropical landscape, subverting the stereotypical, flat image of ‘paradise’ often portrayed of the Caribbean. The synchronised movements of the embellished shells are mesmerizing yet unsettling when coupled with the echoes of distorted environmental sounds, and the plexus that entraps them as they contract and vanish. This interplay of enchantment and tension is familiar in the Caribbean, alluding to the region’s reliance on our landscape to entice a touristic gaze, but feeling the cost and constriction when it comes to agency, autonomy and identity. Enmeshment internalizes this complex reality, and both utilises & scrutinises the concept of escapism used by tourists when they come to the Caribbean.

Biorhythms, stop motion animation with hand-beaded seashells, 5 mins 36 secs, to be played on a loop, 2019

Statement about Biorhythms:

Part of the 'Invasive Species' series, these videos play with expectations of life cycles and natural beauty, the decorated shells becoming animated when covered in synthetic material, and in a somewhat ironic depiction of how decay works in this fictional environment, becoming still and lifeless after reverting to their natural states.

Invasive Species installation, work in progress begun during the residency PunchIN 3 with Punch Creative Arena, Barbados

Statement about the genesis of the Invasive Species series 

Using labour intensive processes such as repurposing of found objects, manipulating textiles and beading natural elements, I am working with organic/inorganic materials and practices/tropes often assigned as feminine in society, producing in multiples to birth an alternate environment of new 'species'. I have also begun experimenting with plastic tampon applicators, both as visually appealing objects that fit the aesthetic and as something which very intimately crosses a boundary of man-made items intersecting a natural process – not unlike the invasiveness of the paradise narrative. The work is increasingly referencing not only flora or fauna, but anatomical/biological imagery and processes in form and materials, extending the fantasy of escaping not only from one’s outer environment, but from one’s very own body.

Desalination, sculpture and shadow installation produced at Caribbean Linked IV at Ateliers '89, Aruba, 2016

Statement about Desalination, taken from a text produced for the exhibition and research space 'Las Antillas para los Antillanos' at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 2016

"...I began collecting discarded water bottles from a particular brand of Aruban water, whose cuboidal shape and fancy labelling intrigued me. Upon peeling off the labels on the backs of the bottles, I discovered that there was a picture of a generic beach plastered on each. This simple image of a horizon has become synonymous with the region, flattening the complex cultures I was having the pleasure of encountering into sun, sea and sand. Inspired by the chemical process of desalination, by which salt is removed from sea water to make it palatable for mass consumption, I turned the dark room in the exhibition space at Ateliers ’89 into a laboratory of sorts, refilling the bottles with the (artificially) blue liquid of the ‘Caribbean sea’ which connects us. The beaches stripped from the bottles were also grouped together on the walls, along with blue meshed-tiles which were draped and scrunched in a way that belied and defied the nature of the material. I reintroduced the idea of the region’s multiplicity by displaying the work using lighting and shadows, creating patterns on the walls which allude to a depth and artistry found in the Antilles that cannot be essentialized.

Because I enjoy reading work in a variety of ways, Desalination can also connote purification in a positive sense, by removing something caustic and leaving us with fresh waters through which we can traverse. Under this interpretation, perhaps Caribbean Linked IV acted as a catalyst which filtered negativity from our shores and presented us with an alternative; one that allowed us to embrace one another’s individuality, while also celebrating a collective identity."

Diametric Accord 1 & 2, exhibited in the exhibitions 'Rum Retort' in Greenock, Scotland and 'Quaternary: Four Barbadian Female Artists' at Gallery NuEdge, Barbados

Statement for Diametric Accord 1 & 2

In mathematics, the term "diametrically opposed" refers to two points directly opposite each other on a circle or sphere, seen as being at two extremes. Diametric Accord 1&2 play on this term and challenge the notion that distance need necessarily breed opposition or unfamiliarity; rather they attempt to combine fragmented experiences of place into patterns and shadows that trace journeys and leave an imprint on their surroundings. The two motifs used are silhouettes of landmarks and the outlines of maps, each of which show a 21 mile diameter around various cities in the world that I have visited, alluding to the 21 mile length of Barbados. Reproducing these maps and buildings and layering them with one another, as well as using domestic objects with which I can make bold, carnivalesque patterns and intertwined shadows, has allowed me to highlight unlikely connections and create cross-cultural mosaics within the work.

Clip of kinetic and audio installation Displaced Revelry, 2011

Photographs of sculptures and installations 2010-2012

Statement for Grey Mas, Restricted Revelry, and Displaced Revelry

 

The meaning of the word ‘home’ extends beyond simply a place of residence – it implies security, a sense of belonging and shared culture. When removed from that place of comfort, it is natural to cling to the familiar, and cultural practices take on a crucial role in foreign surroundings. My work is an expression of the displacement felt when I left Barbados to come to the UK. I use domestic objects, which relate to the idea of home, but combine them to create forms reminiscent of West Indian Carnival costumes. This imagery is symbolic of my culture, as Carnival is the epitome of exuberance often associated with the Caribbean. However, the installations contradict themselves; the aesthetic is cold and grim, there is an absence of colour and brightness, and the shadows cast are as much part of the work as the objects themselves. The resulting emptiness from something which should be so vibrant distances the festival from its context, just as I have been distanced from mine. By sharing this echo, I wish to communicate loss and longing, as well as assert my own identity, in a way creating a new cultural dynamic.



Statement for Cosmopolitan Carnival



My work has always been closely linked to ideas of home and culture, particularly my distance from it while abroad. After returning, I became interested in the changed perspective of someone who has seen and been influenced by new things, and how that affects their arrival. I work with domestic objects which allude to homeliness, but combine them visually in an aesthetic reminiscent of West Indian Carnival. Whereas the work I created overseas had a conspicuous absence of colour to convey the displaced context, colour and vibrancy now feature prominently in light of my homecoming. However, silhouettes of places I visited during my travels cast dark shadows on the bright backdrop; shadows are behind the scenes but still affect surroundings - they are both part of you, yet not a part of you. The superimposed cosmopolitan buildings over the exuberant forms show that behind the elation of being back in Barbados, the memories of past experiences are still omnipresent.



 

​© 2020 by Katherine Kennedy. All rights reserved.

Invasive Species series (working title), Mixed media sculpture and shadow installation, 2020 - ongoing.