Artist: Katia Swihart
Exhibition: Description of a Struggle
Media: Drawing & Painting, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Katia Swihart is an Undergraduate student at CSULB, who is currently in the program of Studio Art: Drawing and Painting. Besides the artistic value interest of painting itself, she’s also interested in poetry, comic books, and video games. As for her exhibit as a whole, each piece resembles a part of who she was and is now. Moreover, her artwork encompasses her sexuality, familial matters, and career opportunities. Each piece basically was a simple step on her pathway that guided her to figure out what specifically made her stand out as an artist.
Walking into the Gatov Gallery West, I was presented with an exhibit full of color and patterns. Moreover, it wasn’t easy to distinguish that her artwork had some past trauma and negative influences on her. The media she used was everyday pieces that she combined that had sentimental value to her. For example, her artwork with her sister in it was just a simple piece that helped her figure out what certain materials and techniques to use. To describe one piece in particular, being the mattress, there was a mixture of bright colors with a jagged feel to it. Moreover, the cape behind it was more of a straight, lined piece that somewhat contrasted the front part of the mattress. As for the pieces that dealt with her job at Jersey Mike’s, high-saturated polychromatic colors were used in random areas of the objects. The shapes of these pieces varied from rectangles to ovals and other random shapes. The last piece that I wanted to talk about was the dark painting that had a center piece of a human with a border of shapes around it. Furthermore, this piece was done with paint with straight lines.
With the first piece of the mattress, it reflected her relationship with her father. The artwork titled “Father’s Metamorphosis” was encompassed around the whole ideal that her dad was both a hero and a villain in her life. Moreover, he somewhat devalued her as an artist saying that she should build upon literature of the past to build intellect in order to become the best artist possible. Anyways, the piece was built by angrily beating up the mattress while the other half was calm with simple painting done on random parts of the mattress. For her sister’s picture piece, she focused on figuring out certain style points for her future projects. Additionally, it made her realize that she enjoyed painting on 3D objects. In a way, she developed into a sculptor with not much interest in flat paintings and more on sheen-material dimensionality pieces. Lastly, the pieces relating to her part-time job at Jersey Mike’s related to a great portion of her life. For the dark blue painting, the purpose dealt with a relationship that she had with a guy that worked at her job. Furthermore, she was in love with this specific guy, yet this guy intimidated her and even haunted her dreams. The positive side to this piece and the guy that she loved himself was that he pushed her to figure out her sexuality. In a way, her job became part of her identity. All of her pieces together explored who she was as a person and the milestones she reached.
Synthesis / My Experience
To sum it all up, Katia’s artwork was one of my favorites since it was more of the realistic ones that could closely relate to my life. At times, I feel like my parents push me as hard as her father did. Moreover, we both are inspired from our parents’ views. Relating to her artwork, I love how she used bright colors in randomized places to hide the shadow of her anger and trauma. In a way, I can say that I somewhat hide my negative feelings within me or in a piece by trying to show the positive, bright colors on the outside. As for the pieces relating to her past part-time job, I can say that the shining colors show how I feel within my current part-time job. Just like Katia, my job has now become a part of who I am. Even if she hated customer service and the job itself, she learned to love it. Within my job now, I feel as if I grew a family and I could show that within the colors she chose in her piece. Truly, this exhibition was one that caught my eye since the artist herself shared quite some similarities to my life itself.