Introducing: Katherine Simone Reynolds

Introducing: Katherine Simone Reynolds

We met St Louis artist, Katherine, in the Rule Gallery in Marfa, Texas. Her debut, solo exhibition was titled ‘You Must be a Special Lady, and a Very Exciting Girl’. The exhibition ran from 27 April – 22 June, 2019.

NOTE: Some photos are of a sexual nature and may offend sensitive viewers. Please continue viewing at your own risk.

‘Tarnished Jewelry’
Pigmented Ink Print from Digital Collage

To best understand her work, I quote directly from her exhibition sheet:

“Katherine explores the question of how one can navigate the hyper-visibility rampant in our current world verses the desire to remain invisible. This installation-based exhibition is seeking to create a quiet place to understand the meaning and unease behind the idea of ‘exposure’ and the violent gaze, along with the necessary desire to be left alone, to experience/process sexuality, femininity, and ancestral trauma. The narrative is told through sourced photos, video, velvet curtains, and the colour dusty rose. The materials used – candle wax, privacy glass, and tarnished beauty supply jewellery – discuss this gilded form of femininity that has been placed onto Black women for society to easily digest their existence. The show also included books placed throughout, which viewers are invited to pick up and read. Speaking about her work, Reynolds has said, ‘A friend of mine once told me it was a lonely existence to be a Black woman in this world, and I knew she was right. This exhibition is not about legibility, but more of an intuitive practice of gazing, staring and perceiving.”

In the first room we were presented with a large candle burning on a tall, ornate stand, in the middle of the room. On the floor, along one wall was a Persian runner, in golden hues, in the right hand corner, was a bookshelf with erotic literature: shoe, glove and other bric-a-brac. On one feature wall hung the painting (shown above) of a woman’s face – either in ecstacy or pain, I couldn’t work out which. It might have been both. The mirror-like colours were dreamlike and had me staring at it for ages. It was quite captivating. In the opposite corner, an old gramophone was playing. It seemed like a very intimate room – almost voyeuristic. At times I felt I was being watched, looking. Disconcerting.

‘You Can’t Turn a Hoe Into a Housewife, Unless She Owns Her Own Home’
Pigmented Ink Print From Digital Collage
(Left) – ‘You Smell Like Iron’ Ironing Board with Heat Transfer Photographs & Cast Iron
(Right) – ‘Special Lady Featuring Desiree West’Ink Print From Digital Collage

In another room, on the floor was an old ironing board covered in images of various Black women, and seated next to it, an old metal iron. On the wall opposite, an out-of-focus, or out of register print hung of a semi-naked woman in a sexual pose. Although naked, this was not an overtly risque photo. The combination of objects and images needed questioning. Who? Why? What? The questions that kept rising were: Is a woman always perceived as a housewife or prostitute? Are they Black labels or are these labels tagged to all women? Are we always labelled as one? The premise, ‘Men want their women to be domestic goddesses in the kitchen and a tigress in the bedroom’ only emphasise this point. I must say, Katherine had my friend and I talking about these labels for ages after leaving her exhibition. It was a very thought-provoking installation.

Katherine’s provocative exhibition will certainly give viewers and art enthusiasts something to talk about. It was a very interesting showing. Her use of materials, both in found objects, photos, video and wax-workings, were complementary. I do not believe that Katherine will be ‘lonely’ after her first solo exhibition, if anything, she will be welcomed into the art world and have followers and supporters from here on out.

For more info about this artist, please CLICK HERE

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  • “If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it’s because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your voice) and that’s the most revolutionary insight of all.” â€“ Erica Jong

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NOTE: We would like to state that we are not professional art critics! We, love all kinds of art and we love to share our experiences, picks and preferences and make comments on them.

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