Girl On Film: An Interview with Kate Perkins
July 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
AR-L: Tell us something about your upcoming exhibition titled Girls On Film, which opens in Philadelphia on August 3, 2012 (First Friday) from 5-9pm @ The ~curARTorial LAB in Crane Arts Old School (1417-25 N. Second St., Studio 3A).
Japan, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″ (76 cm x 123 cm), 2011
KP: The paintings Japan and Girl on the Phone come from my senior thesis show, Gaijin Scheherazade, which used pop images of young women from a variety of cultural backgrounds, in the context of film stills and portraits, in order to explore the female construction of identity in an internet-driven world.
Girl on the Phone, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″ (76 cm x 123 cm), 2011
The new paintings are a continuation of these ideas. In the Superbass series, I tried to deconstruct and reconstruct something that means a lot in internet girl culture, not because of the content of the image, but because of the way it is manipulated and shared online.
The original imagery comes from rapper Nicki Minaj’s music video for her song “Super Bass”. The video was screenshotted and reconstructed in a moving GIF by an anonymous tumblr user, who then posted it on that blogging site and let it disseminate by having hundreds of people share it by re-blogging. I took the GIF, separated it back into its still images, and chose four of them to bring into the physical realm of paint.
AR-L: What about your process for selecting images and creating the eventual “painted montage”?
KP: Images that existed in the physical world (in the person of Nicki Minaj), were transferred to digital film, then transferred and assembled onto still images, which then became a moving GIF image. I then reorganized them into still images, which were brought back into the physical realm in the form of paintings, which were then transferred to photographic images again, and into a moving GIF again.
The whole thing is a great exercise in the interactive nature of technology – how we can use one artist’s expression these days and have it be endlessly share-able and manipulate-able. It creates a kind of community of people who are in varying degrees active participants in pop culture and art, and also makes this huge, expansive, organic piece of art that is just the journey taken by one image or a set of images throughout the internet.
AR-L: How would you define the relationship between your love of moving images and your approach to painting?
KP: Right now I’m really interested in the idea of series, and the way viewers can be participatory either through technology (scanning the QR code to see the GIF), or just with their eyes, following the series to see the subtle movement.
In my newest works I am experimenting with making subtle visual shifts in each of the paintings in a series, not just by the placement of elements but by tweaking colors and brushstrokes in ways that are almost indistinguishable when the series is put together in a GIF but still make each piece unique.
Ar-L: You have referred to your role as a painter as being similar to that of a storyteller. Do you think this implied notion of “the narrative” is the driving force behind the images you select to paint, or is the story being told via an aesthetic stylization (i.e. through the textures, brushstrokes, etc.)?
KP: I hope that it is both. The narrative of the Superbass series is, in my mind, a kind of upfront femininity and sexuality that is more about being assertive than being objectified. I try to convey this through the confrontational body language of the figures, the “eye contact” and expressive faces, but I also try to convey it in the over-saturated color, the vibrant hues, the thick lusciousness of the paintstrokes of the pink hair, and the layers of metallic paint and gold glitter on the surface. I think that the overstated glitter and shine, the indulgent colors, all combine with the raw roughness of the underlying wood panel (which has a pronounced grain and cracks) to make an in-your-face statement material-wise as well as image-wise.
AR-L: What are your current plans now that you have graduated from The University of the Arts (Class ’12)?
KP: Staying in Philadelphia this year (I’m a resident artist at Glodilocks Gallery until October), to be followed by grad school in Chicago or L.A. next year for Art History.
AR-L: What is your favorite piece in this exhibition and why?
KP:My favorite piece is actually the moving GIF. It is wonderful to see your paintings actually come to life in a way, and to see the brushstrokes moving of their own accord. It’s kind of a fantasy come true.