Kay Whitney

Artist Statement

Technology has x-ray vision and reveals the hidden interiors of everything that surrounds us. I am fascinated by this technological strip tease and the metaphor of transparency is a major influence on my work. My work is all exterior; there are no surfaces that hide or obscure; the entire object is open to the viewer's curious stare. At the same time, because there is no symmetry in my work, every shift in viewing angle creates a different piece.

I make 2.5 and three - dimensional objects that refer to the human body. The kind of body that interests me is the confused body of the late 20th Century, a body that is part organic and part mechanical. The old distinctions between 'natural' and 'manmade' are being rapidly erased by aggressive scientific and medical techniques like cloning, cosmetic surgeries, and electronic organs. I am fascinated with the new 'mixed' bodies these technologies are producing. I work is influenced by the hybrid, bionic and semi-artificial and use it to invent new chimeras. My pods and humanoid shapes are completely new but similar enough to those in nature to seem possible.

I use a wide range of materials; steel, tarpaper, foam and rubber; non-art, inorganic materials that are meant to retain their industrial identity. I consider myself to be part of a small group of artists who reach conceptual and intellectual goals through a focus on craft. Every element I use to I make an object, its scale, construction method and choice of material is essential to the way the viewer relates to it. I deliberately use materials that are the conceptual opposite of the image they are part of. My objects feminize these materials; make these industrial, construction- related materials sensual.

This world is full of odd visual juxtapositions, unintended visual puns. I want my work to share in this environment of unintended humor. If my work makes you grin, seems simple, funny, even stupid, then you have gotten my joke. I thank you for looking.

Kay Whitney, October '04
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Artist Bio

Kay Whitney has recently returned to Albuquerque after teaching art for several years at Texas State University in San Marcos and the University of Texas in San Antonio. Her work has been widely exhibited, most recently at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Dallas, Texas; the New York Arts Gallery in New York; the Blue Star in San Antonio, Texas; and the Steel Grrrrls exhibit at both the University of New Mexico's Jonson Gallery and the Houston Art League in Texas. Other exhibits include numerous shows at galleries and museums in Germany, California, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. Whitney is also a curator, a writer, and a lecturer on contemporary art issues. She holds an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her works of art can be found in collections across the country.

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