Artist Statement

Katherine Hackl More Info - Artist Statement

I think of my work as a balancing act. Combinations of clean, spare forms and active, graphic surfaces. Light and dark. Figurative and abstract. Texture and Surface. I want to engage the narrative potential of seemingly simple natural forms to reflect the fluid, dynamic experiences of life. My aim to use the energy of these images and forms to connect the work with those who use it – whether as a large community mural or a delicate cup of tea. There are stories and experiences evoked by these pieces to be shared and built upon over time. My goal is to create work that invites the user to reflect on these possibilities while enjoying the piece through the simple pleasures of daily active use.

My work has evolved over the years and has incorporated a variety of formats and mediums, but nature as a source of inspiration has remained a constant. My current pottery work uses a porcelain etched technique which allows me to focus on the transition of narrative images from figurative to abstract. I am interested in seeing the individual detail emerging from the complexity of an environment. A single grass reed dances out above the density of plants below. Birds, branches and leaves begin to flow into each other to the point of obscurity. These details echo our relationships as individuals within a social context. There is a play between support and isolation, connection and independence, clarity and confusion. These moments are not static. The scenes portrayed evolve as the piece is turned. I try to keep a sense of movement and time in the work. The density is balanced by an opening. Using this pottery on a daily basis not only reveals the details and personality of a piece, but also allows the user to build on the narrative involved. I try to create space and potential in my work for the user to engage with it on their own terms, to make it their own.

My tile mural projects also work around this idea of connection and narrative, but on a larger community scale. Each piece, whether for a public or a private installation is researched and tailored to the site and community. How is a space used and by whom? What is the history of an area? How can this work engage the viewer’s curiosity and wonder? How can I connect the public with an understanding of the slow, intimate process of handmade work? It is deeply satisfying to see a piece generate a new conversation and gain a life of its own. I love seeing students proudly sharing their creative role and explaining to others how and why it was made. These installations are always a unique and dynamic collaborative. The process of creating these pieces is often different from my quiet studio pottery process, but the goal of creating work that serves a community and helps advance a sense of place, connection and meaning is quite the same.