Kathryn Rusek – Red Lodge Clay Center

Kathryn RusekAstoria, New York


Kate Rusek’s research, writing, and artwork examines the connective edges and dissonant intersections between humanity, material culture, and the natural world. Rusek received two B.F.As from The University of Miami and an M.A from Savannah College of Art and Design. Rusek has been awarded residencies at Archie Bray, The Hambidge Center, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center among others. She is a Devra Freelander Fellow at Socrates Sculpture Park and the recipient of a Windgate Distinguished Fellowship for Innovation in Craft. Rusek has exhibited her work In New York, Los Angeles, across Montana and the Pacific Northwest. Select exhibition venues include Trotter and Scholer, Spring Break Art Fair, Socrates Sculpture Park, Mizuma, Kips, and Wada, Studio Archive, LaBodega Gallery, Geheim Gallery, Governors Island Art Fair, and the Gallery of Visual Arts at The University of Montana.

Additionally, Kate Rusek is a Daytime Emmy winner for her work on Sesame Street. She frequently works as a Tailor, builder of fine and specialty costumes, and design/builder of puppets as a proud member of IASTE Local 764. She has contributed her expertise to the broader film, television, and theater industry for over 15 years.

I create maximalist biophilic forms, combining valuable and value-less materials through a lens of ‘naturalness’, and an interrogation of deep time. My practice is a means to examine climate grief, ecological collapse, loss, and heartbreak through a lens of organic abundance. My work is an action to reshape anthropogenic ruin into an act of eco-future making. Deliberately motivated by hand wrought treatments and intricate technical processes, a laborious care ethic is centered to reveal intentionality of the human hand. The complexity of natural structures, systems, and interactions, foundation connection as both physical means and conceptual backbone to the work. Vacillation between order and chaos informs my process akin to a dynamic ecosystem vitality.

My current work is developing a series of highly ornamented porcelain and mixed media sculptures, utilizing several clay based processes including slip casting, handbuilding and burnout techniques. Building complexity by integrating both process and desire into a single forms allows the work to comment on the ambiguity of creation and destruction. Techniques that build texture rich organic patterns make visible energetic labor, ever present but overlooked all around us. This waste processing is an act to consider themes of ecological relationship, planetary carrying capacity, and human reproductive health. Interlacing fertility and moon cycles, the moon’s effects on both human and the planetary marine body, has pushed me into research from Donna Haraway to E.O Wilson. Against a backdrop of climate dread and eco-anxiety, I consider the synthesis of my body and the sea in concert.