By combining her love of precision and geometry with the rendering of identifiable objects of everyday life, Kathleen Volp has created a highly personal body of work with her current solo exhibition, Meridians and Parallels, at Bromfield Gallery.
What artist do you most admire but work nothing like? Jim Nutt.
What do you listen to while you work? Oh, I love this question! Music is like conversation for me. It’s the closest companion I have in the studio. I find there is certain music that becomes almost a theme to the particular series I am working on. During this series I mostly listened to instrumental. Some of which would I guess be called post/alternative metal. Drums are the key element for me. I always have Isis rotating through my Ipod. Maserati, If these Trees Could Talk, Russian Circles, Godspeed You Black Emperor, MGR, Pelican. I also found myself playing a lot of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Rachel’s, Explosions in the Sky, Jaga Jazzist and Philip Glass’s Uakti. But to be fair, I often can’t afford any distractions, so I put on ear buds and listen to binaural sounds, basically white noise that filters out everything, allowing me total focus.
What’s the best/worst day job you’ve ever had? Worst: I de-tasseled corn one summer while in college in Wisconsin. Brutal work. Its hot, its muggy and you’re standing in a claustrophobic jungle of unruly green reaching up, pulling down the top of a stalks, yanking out the tassel, then onto the next one. Over and over and over. I quit after I found myself rolling around the floor one night de-tasseling in my sleep. I think if every American actually worked a week as a migrant worker their views on immigration might be better informed.
What are you currently reading? In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and An American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larsen.
Have you ever revised your work on once it’s been hung in an exhibition? Yes. Revised, wiped out, thrown out. But not in response to anyone or anything in particular. I just always keep tinkering on pieces. And I am very critical of my work. I nag it once it’s back in the studio. I need people I trust to remove it from my sight. What is it they say in Art and Fear – “Your next piece is in your last”?
Do you live with animals? Oh this is a sad question. At this very moment I have a lovely puppy, Karina, I’m caring for while her family is gone for two weeks. Judith and Paul, her owners, previously had a wonderful dog Hobbes who was just the best of friends with my dog Lily. Lily died suddenly last summer of kidney cancer and Hobbes followed a month later. We had vowed to get puppies together, but my life right now couldn’t accommodate a dog. So they found Karina at the Sterling animal shelter and I’m her god-mother. When the time is right, the perfect rescue dog will be there for me.
Etch a Sketch or Permanent magic marker? Permanent marker.
Ipod or record albums? Ipod. Gotta take it with me.
Which color(s) do you least like? Any pastel.
What’s the most surprising response to your art you’ve ever received? At this show I have been under the impression that the subject of many of the pieces was a deeply textured cantaloupe. I photographed it extensively and have been working with the images for several years now. Not once have I thought otherwise. I was surprised to find many viewers didn’t even remotely see a cantaloupe! Not even a kumquat. I’m serious. It blew my mind (and my artist statement which I’d already revised seven or eight times). Seriously. People saw protoplasm or coral or some kind of micro-organism or a CAT scan of the brain. It’s all good, even exciting, but really, really shocking to me. How could I not have seen this in my own work?
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: She-Who-Prefers-Not-To-Be-Known.
What’s next? My work has been moving towards 3-D for a while. With more time this show would have included installation. I have always considered myself an object-maker more than anything else.
Kathleen Volp’s solo exhibition Meridians and Parallels at the Bromfield Gallery runs through July 30, 2011.
Image credit: All images courtesy Kathleen Volp. From top to bottom:
Bound Melon #2; 2011; 12” x 12” x 1”; photographic transfer, oil, metal and graphite on fabric and wood panel
Sketchbooks 2010 -2011
Three Balls; 2011; 36” x 19” x 2”; photo transfers, acrylics, pencil and graphite on pvc panel
Babel; 2011; 27” x 24” x 2; vellum, acrylic mediums, tape, and graphite on pvc panel and wood
Tethered #2; 2011; 47’ x40” x 2”; Photographic transfer, acrylic, graphite, and rust on fabric and paper
Theology and Geometry; 2011; 24” x 24” x 2”; Man’s dress shirt, oils and graphite on fabric and wood