It was once said that through art, we harness the ability to lens the world through the eyes of another. Whether it be objective or subjective in nature, art can simply be, just a means for one to express their imaginations in different dialects, those fluent in intuition and desire. For artist Kitty Callaghan, each piece is deeply rooted in story telling and marking spaces in time. Her work being one that is all encompassing; a play on the parallels between the reflective and the impulsive, the deconstructive and the reconstructive - a harmony in both the instinctual and the calculated.
Below, artist Kitty Callaghan talks to RUSSH about the female form and the manifestations behind her work in anticipation for her new upcoming show Collages, opening this Friday, 18 June at China Heights Gallery.
Your exhibition Collages seems to thread themes around the body and most notably, hands. Was this intentional? And what were the thought processes behind exploring these themes for the show?
I don’t think it was intentional, it always comes naturally to me to include these elements in my work. I’ve always been fascinated by the female form in general, in particular hands and photographing/ documenting them. I see hands as telling a story far greater than any other limb - they are the part of our body that experiences the most touch, and are a vessel of communication. They take us places, we use them to tell stories and they generate so much of what we do and wish to achieve in our day to day lives. They are a manifestation of where we have been and where we might go.
This is your first time using paint as a part of your collaging process outside of your digital work. What drew you to working with paint as a detail?
In the past, I have often used acrylic paint in my work; I usually apply it to acetate and then scan it in for digital works and works with .gif and video. For whatever reason, there is something about the free flow of brush strokes that has always appealed to me. I’ve always been inspired by the multimedia works by artists like Gerhard Richter and Leslie David, also Dale Frank and Theo Altenberg for their playful and abstract free flowing colourful nature. It felt right to me to incorporate this paint in its original form into my physical works as in the past they’ve only lived in the realm of digital for me.
When it comes to your work with collage, would you say your artistic practice be one that’s emotional, intuitive or purely visual?
For me I think it’s all of these in different measures and more. I don’t think about the nature of my practice as often as I feel the desire or want to make things. I suppose I am visually documenting things I see through collage, scrap booking and photography. Reflecting on that idea, perhaps it’s a little more on the visual side for me.
Personally, how does your work with collage differ from your work with photography? In your practice, do you approach them the same way or differently?
I guess they differ in that photography is creating an image whereas collage is created from images, whether they’re found or my own. This body of work is comprised of found imagery from old books I’ve collected over the years or gotten my hands on recently. I also like to create collage work from my own photos and have very much worked in that way in the past as it’s a nice way to thread the two mediums together. So in that sense, I guess the approaches are different but also connect in a beautiful way.
Now, in the world of Kitty Callaghan, as an artist practicing in 2021, what do you hope to be next?
In August I’m completing a resin course as I am hoping to create works that involve that medium next. I hope to be continuing to work as an interdisciplinary artist, finding new mediums and ways to create. I also hope to be traveling sometime soon.
Collages by Kitty Callaghan opens Friday, 18 June at China Heights Gallery.