Listening to Ms. Waugh talk about her work contributed a significant amount to the appeal of the artist talk I attended last friday. Her enthusiasm and ease of speech helped to sell the authenticity of her photography and sculptures, a trait she admitted she had picked up from teaching.
The show consisted of a variety of different mediums, predominantly film photography but also sculpture and video. She has a very acute fascination with the sky and clouds that appeared in the sky near her home in the Finger Lakes, focusing on how brilliant but ephemeral they were. In fact, that was a them throughout her entire show, the concept of time and quick fixes. One of her photo pieces featured a decaying dock that was slowly being eroded and consumed by the lake it bordered. It was not structurally sound and therefore had lost its purpose, which Ms. Waugh connected to her photography shots of clouds.
She mentioned the word frantic more than once during her talk and upon me asking her about why she used that particular phrase, she tied the word into the overall theme of the show. Her sculpture on the floor was purposely made in a haphazard and unplanned way, using silvery grey shims to prop up her frames, an act which she described was to allude to the way in which some people in the government tend to try and fix things, by frantically manufacturing some quick fix which looks fancy and effective, but in reality only props up the situation instead of fixing the integral structural problems which are the cause of the trouble in the first place.
My favorite piece in the show was on the left back wall as you walked in and for all intents and purposes, wasn’t the most impressive piece in the gallery. It was a simple black and white photo of some jagged pieces of wood stacked neatly on top of each other. The reason why i liked it so much was probably more for the technical skill rather than any implied meaning behind it. i know the number one rule when you go to a gallery is to NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK and i usually adhere to that rule enthusiastically, but the image i stood in front of was so crisp and the lighting on the wooden pieces were so interesting in texture i found myself willing my hands down to my sides before they could make contact with the paper. Its human nature to try and use all available senses to try and make sense of something if one sense alone can’t fully understand it, and I guess that’s why they have that rule in galleries in the first place, so i had to resist the temptation and simply look at it from different angles to determine if there was any texture on the surface of the photo. There was not but I guess that wasn’t the point.
At any rate, Katie Waugh was a delight to witness and her skill and enthusiasm was a much appreciated addition to the Llewellyn Gallery’s growing repertoire.