Fresh from her first year in Western Connecticut State University’s Master of Fine Arts program, Bethel, Connecticut artist Katie Bassett will be showing a solo exhibition of her mixed media installation work at Danbury’s Trailer Box Gallery at Jim Felice Studios from June 8 through August 17. An opening reception for the show, ‘Seamless,’ will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 5 to 8pm, and Bassett has organized an interactive project for those who attend: a “braiding social,” designed to intertwine the construction of art and relationships. A large part of Bassett’s recent work has involved braiding and weaving materials such as yarn and black contractor garbage bags.
“[The braiding social] is about people getting together over coffee or a glass of wine to share their experiences and make new memories,” Bassett explains. “The constructing of art can be a very personal journey. I have recently come to realize that letting people into the experience can be extremely powerful and special.”
In a similar vein, Bassett is planning a special spread of foods to be enjoyed at her reception: via social media, she’ll be putting out an invitation to friends, followers, and acquaintances to collaborate with her in the kitchen. She’s looking to help people prepare and serve their family recipes to build even further on the spirit of sharing and participation.
Bassett, who is co-curator at The Mercurial Gallery in Danbury and a long-time collaborator with sculptor Jim Felice, began this past semester by dismantling all of the work she had constructed during her first months in the MFA program, ironing the various pieces, then weaving and sealing them into a wall-mounted series of 8″ by 5″ by 1.5″ rectangles. The piece, “Interwoven Semester,” will be on display in ‘Seamless’ along with other works she has created within the past semester, including “One Connection Left,” a piece constructed with braided garbage bags, and “Nothing” a delicate piece made of window screen and garbage bags. This will be Bassett’s first exhibition of this scale.
“The primary interest I address in my work is to push the limits of what the materials will allow, while finding a delicate balance between hues of black,” Bassett says. “I utilize a large range of domestic materials to represent fragments of my existence as an artist and a woman. Instead of trying to replicate an object or emotion, I believe it is essential to express it. All of my work expresses the need to rebuild what has been altered by breaking my own preconceived rules of art, expression, and materials. The pieces are reflections of my own inner dynamics alongside observation and participation in relationships – abstractly representing my footprint in this perishable existence.”
Bassett aims to express emotions abstractly – she feels representational work can fall short in this area. “I’m interested in constructing work, being so involved with the work that it becomes a true extension of myself and my relationship to others.”
A milestone in this endeavor is ‘Seamless:’ a body of work inspired by life. “I came up with ‘Seamless’ in the thought of transition,” says Bassett. “Moving from a style of work and a life I had become complacent in to changing it around completely. Hopefully seamlessly.”
‘Seamless’ opens at Trailer Box Gallery at Jim Felice Studios on Saturday, June 8, and an opening reception with an interactive “braiding social” will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 5 to 8pm. ‘Seamless’ will be on display through August 17.
Follow Katie Bassett on Facebook at facebook.com/katiebassettart.
Trailer Box Gallery, located at Jim Felice Studios at 15 Great Pasture Road, Unit 15 in Danbury, Connecticut, is a project space encouraging a further dialogue between artists, non-artists, and the community. Hours for ‘Seamless’ will be Wednesdays through Fridays from 12-5pm. For weekend and evening hours, call (203)797-0230 to make an appointment.
Photo credit: “Getting Tangled.” Interactive installation, braided garbage bags. Photograph by Rick Villodas.