Katherine PackState College, Pennsylvania

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (ASPN) 2019

Katie Pack makes ceramic sculptures that mimic the relationships she saw growing up in an oil town in West Texas. Her architectural forms, made from porcelain that captures gravity in the kiln, reveal the joints precariously holding up the industry, always on the verge of self-destruction. Her research, carried out during her BFA at the Pennsylvania State University, is focused on how industry power relationships affect social systems, especially within the lives of women. Over the past two years, she has worked as an assistant for both Bonnie Collura and Chris Staley, participated in community clay outreach through Clay Siblings, had several solo and group shows, and instructed youth pottery classes at the Center for Arts and Crafts. “We really are all in this together, and looking after our community is part of that. We must work to make art accessible, to facilitate conversations and experiences that break down barriers and help us to be less ignorant with each passing day.”

I grew up in an oil town in the deserts of West Texas – a town that experienced crime waves with economic booms. It’s a place that bends to the vicious cyclical nature of commodity and crash, where more money means more pregnant kids, more violence, more backhanded opportunities and the strain on already fragile relationships between people of different races and genders. As I have grown older, my understanding of global social systems has grown and changed and instilled in me a passion for truth. Living in such a transitional and pivotal time, known as the Anthropocene, I feel compelled to expose the chain links between the industrial power structures that moved us here and the people who carried them on their backs. There is no point at which industry ends and man begins. They have built up and within each other like a scab absorbing a bandage, unsustainable progress suspended in liminal time, waiting for the inevitable and painful repercussions. In my studio, objects are born from pain waiting, frustration, exhaustion, and the desire to challenge both my understanding and dialogue with the world around me. Using ceramics, wood and metal I create figures and landscapes that mimic the dysfunction and destruction of Anthropocentric relationships while simultaneously questioning the systems that created them. My current work exists in the realms of discomfort and heartache. It is the quiet of a dry river bed, of a forest without trees, of abandoned buildings and floating plastic bags- the quiet of a moment where viewers are given the opportunity to relinquish their comfortable blindness, and see the world as it is.