30 March 2022 (New Orleans, LA) JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of San Diego-based artist Kat Flyn entitled Ripped from the Headlines. In this suite of twenty-five new sculptures, Flyn critically reacts to current events and employs such themes as: racism, immigration, gender inequality, and climate change. Over the years, Flyn has amassed a trove of artifacts and collectables which she began using to create assemblage art in the 1990’s. Flyn seeks out collectibles and artifacts to create a visual narrative of the zeitgeist of inequality and racism in the United States. Flyn refers to her artistic genre as Political Art and Protest Art and exclusively illustrates socioeconomic narratives and cultural iconography in her work.
The artist says of the exhibition...
The works in this show deal with topics that have been in the news over the past decade - Black Lives Matter, Immigration, CRT and Systemic Racism, Human Trafficking, Climate Change, the Pandemic, and Immigration. While newspapers have covered each of these topics, in this show I present an alternative approach. Each work is meant as a visual essay. The goal is to lead the viewer to evaluate (or maybe re-evaluate) their own views through a nonverbal presentation of each topic.
Since it's my aim to stimulate consideration of these current event topics through a nonverbal approach, I do not wish to (verbally) describe each work here. Of course, my own views permeate each work, some more than others but this still leaves room for the viewer to disagree with me. There is also no doubt that each work overly generalizes its topic, but that seems to me to be okay since this leaves the viewer with room to mentally add their own specific critiques to the visual essay.
The exhibition will be on view from 30 March to 28 March 2022, with an opening reception coinciding with the Arts District of New Orleans’ (ADNO) First Saturday Gallery Openings from 5-8 PM on 2 April. There will also be a closing reception from 5-8 PM on 7 May in conjunction with the annual event Jammin’ On Julia which brings thousands of people to the Art District for an unofficial post-Jazz Fest block party.
For more information, press or sales inquiries please contact Gallery Director Matthew Weldon Showman at 504.343.6827 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join the conversation with JFG on Facebook (@JonathanFerraraGallery), Twitter (@JFerraraGallery), and Instagram (@JonathanFerraraGallery) via the hashtags: #KatFlyn, #RippedfromtheHeadlines, #JonathanFerraraGallery, and #ArtsDistrictNewOrleans.
KAT FLYN is a self-taught assemblage artist working presently out of San Diego. She began her career as a costume designer in Southern California. Over the years she amassed a trove of artifacts and collectables which she began using to create assemblage art in the 1990’s. In 2000 she sold her business and moved to Cuyamaca, a remote community in the mountains outside of San Diego to devote herself exclusively to her artwork. In 2003 her work was interrupted when the Cedar Fire swept through San Diego county and destroyed the forest, her home & studio along with almost all of her collections and works of art. Following the fire she relocated to San Francisco, where she spent a decade concentrating on her art in her studio in SOMA and exhibiting at galleries in the Bay Area. In 2015 she returned to San Diego and now works out of her studio in La Jolla, exhibiting there and in Los Angeles.
Kat Flyn refers to herself as an Assemblage Sculptor and her works as Political Art or Protest Art. She separates herself from other assemblage artists in that she only employs “saved” as opposed to “found” objects in her work; and her pieces always have a political or cultural narrative to them rather than being surreal or abstract. She also constructs or refashions many of the pieces which she uses in her art – a soft drink box into a tenement building (Affordable Housing 2017), a jewelry box into a wheel chair (Last Lily Foot 2016), an old shoe shine box into a hearse (Katrina 2018). The result is her work is closer in appearance to Folk Art than Assemblage Art.
The artist says of her practice...
Strictly speaking I am an assemblage artist, but in fact I construct more than assemble my works. I search out collectables, artifacts and wood carvings and then build scenes to make statements regarding American society. Even when using artifacts from earlier centuries, my theme is almost always about contemporary America. Social injustice, racism, sexism, and violence - aspects of our national psyche – exist in the present but have their seeds planted in our past. Additionally, the artifacts I use, often are meant to amplify the meaning of the work. For instance, the Black stereotype wood figures I use in many of my pieces were almost certainly crafted by a White person. By using such artifacts I ask: what kind of society produces such items in the first place?
In my art I make a strict distinction between found objects and saved objects. A found object - which most assemblage artists use in their works - is devoid of intrinsic or emotional value, having been discarded by its owner as worthless or broken. A saved object on the other hand has retained value, either because it was intrinsically valuable or because emotional value had been added to it (such as a photograph, an old shoe, a vintage toy) and consequently it was saved rather than discarded. The fact that I only use “saved objects” often results in viewers being attracted to the individual pieces within my works rather than seeing the narrative I am attempting to portray.
The pieces on display in this exhibit stretch from my early works such as my Ghost Portrait Series - where I attempt to capture a sense of what life might have been like for the person featured in each work – right up to my current work, which I loosely label “Ripped From The Headlines” - where I deal with contemporary issues such as prison reform, climate change, immigration, #MeToo, and #Black Lives Matter. I try to keep my visual presentation somewhat on the cartoonish side, which may seem odd given the seriousness of the subject matter – racism, poverty, immigration etc. However, I have found that viewers’ initial response to my work is more favorable when I visually phrase my topic in this way. My goal is to get viewers to pause long enough to see past the art and into the narrative advanced by my work.