Katya Usvitsky

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Mama (front and side view)   //   nylon & fiber fil   //   27” x 18” x 21” deep   //   2011

This is a piece by artist Katya Usvitsky. Her artist statement is here:

     This project was conceived from an internal conversation about femininity, motherhood,     identity and expectations which I find myself having as a woman and as an artist.

I began the process by exploring the possibilities of using mundane materials and creating something extraordinary, challenging not only myself but the viewers conventions about art. I was drawn to the dually charged nature of women’s nylons, which can be seen as both utilitarian or rather sexy. The challenges came from my ability to transform simple nylons in a way that retained their original meaning while elevating them to a level worthy of a conversation. By creating abstracted forms that are at the same time grotesque, but also soft and comforting I am exploring the topic through the emotions the work evokes in the viewer.

The question is, are we looking at a cluster of eggs, a nest or an enlarged cell? Although the pieces are reminiscent of the comforts of a womb, they are paradoxically created by twisting, wrenching, and deforming a nylon stocking into something that resists its attempts to restrain and normalize the body. This work transforms the suggestive material of women’s undergarments to challenge societal standards of femininity and the idea of the female body
as a vessel for reproduction.

Chuck Close Inspiration

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Emma, 2000

Oil on Canvas

72 x 60 in

Chuck Close is an inspiration. His work has pattern, repetition, and geometric shapes. Three of my favorite elements of art. It reminds me of quilts. His work is one thing up close and another from farther away.

Another part of Chuck Close that I find inspiring is his personal story. As a child he was in special education classes. He had difficulty learning because of an undiagnosed learning disability. He certainly overcame that. In 1962 Close received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle and in 1964 he received his  MFA from Yale University.Another hage obstacle Close has overcome is that in 1988 he  suffered a  a spinal artery collapse that left him a quadriplegic. He has relied on a wheelchair ever since. He creates his giant paintings with a special apparatus that moves him up and down to reach all of the canvas, and with a paint brush strapped to his wrist. I find this amazing and hope you do too.