Ontario based artist, Kit King, and 4%ers Curator, Rachel Ralph recently had the chance to catch up in this latest interview as we patiently wait for the opening reception of this years highly anticipated 2nd annual 4%ers group exhibition. Ralph and King talk about a variety of things from how she came to be living in a small rural town to avoid human interaction as much as possible to how gender has no role in Kit's art world. We couldn't be more excited to have the bold, powerful and sensual works of Kit King joining us to for her first exhibition in Oakland with us at Athen B. Gallery. Learn more about the talented painter that is Kit King in the interview below!
Alexandra Levasseur | Andrea Wan | Angela Fox
Anne Harris | Beryl Fine | Erin Riley | Hanna Yata
Ileana Tejada | Kate Klingbeil | Kit King | Lauren YS
Marina Capdevila | Meryl Pataky | Nicomi Nix Turner
Noel Morica | Rebecca Morgan | Sheryo
Stacey Rozich | Winnie Truong
In an effort to understand the hysterical minds of this year’s group of 4%ERS, I got the chance to ask them each a few questions on themselves, their work, and the art world from their perspective. With such a diverse group of artists, I wanted to draw some connections, create some continuity, and just see what these artists have to say. No one ever shattered a glass ceiling without asking any questions first. - 4%ers Curator, Rachel Ralph
Check out Rachel's past interview with - Lauren YS | Beryl Fine | Alexandra Levasseur
Be sure to join us for the opening reception of the second annual 4%ers group exhibition curated by Rachel Ralph coming to Athen B. Gallery this August 13th, 2016 at 7pm.
Rachel Ralph | Name/Location/Age
Kit King | My name is Kit King. I work from my home studio in a small French village in rural Ontario, Canada, called Curran. I was born in 1987.
Have you ever been called hysterical?
Yes. I've struggled greatly with anxiety and depression over the years. As a teenager (with all those lovely intense hormones floating about, exacerbating every emotion) my parents didn't know how to handle what I was going through. "Hysterical" was a term thrown around quite often back then, as we all tried to sort out what was "wrong" with me, when the hysterics didn't just subside.
How do you feel being a woman has affected your art making?
I feel like is has not affected it at all. I am not a "female artist". I am just an artist.
How do you feel being a woman has affected your art career?
I hope nothing aside from getting into a couple all women art shows.
Most folks assumed I was a man until quite recently. I want people to look at my work for the art it is, and not for what sex organs I have. Hopefully my gender has no effect, negative or positively so.
I would hate to end up somewhere with my art (even if it were somewhere great) if my gender had any role in getting me there. 'All women's' art exhibits seem innocent enough, so long as any recognition long term isn't measured from me being a female, and rather strictly for my work itself.
Do you think your creative process has anything to do with you being female?
No. I see no gender in art. My creative process has everything to do with circumstance, choice, and emotion- nothing to do with gender.
It seems that you depict female figures in your work much more frequently than male figures. What is it about the female form that you are drawn to?
Honestly it's mostly a lack of reference. I live in the middle of nowhere and keep myself from human interaction as much as possible, so I'm continuously just using my self for reference material.
It's fitting I suppose, since most of my paintings are emotional works centered around my mental state at the time of creation. Each painting is more so a variant of a self portrait. Sort of cataloguing my progress with personal struggles- a journal fixed in paint, so to speak.
Had I been a man, there would be more male forms in my work. It's just what's readily available.
Your work is very figurative. Whether depicting a body in its entirety or the more fragmented works with eyes, hands and skulls, it always seems to come back to the body. What is it about the body that has caused such a deep investigation of it’s depiction?
My father was a figurative artist, so naturally it's where I took an interest given that he was a large inspiration in my early years. However as I grew I delved more into landscapes. It wasn't until adulthood when my struggle with agoraphobia set in that I was no longer comfortable painting scenery. I turned to art as a refuge to seek solace from the anxiety.
From then all my works became a visual narrative for my struggle with anxiety and the depression that came with it. So the "deep investigation" was merely an introspective monologue on canvas as I tried to wrap my mind around space and my place within it.
The viewer can see where I'm at in my life through the expression and forms I paint.
I'm hoping the more comfortable I get with my things, the more I can revisit scenery and leave form behind.
Your piece for the show, Mother is an oil painting on live edge maple with moss. Not only does it reference nature, but it emphasizes it through materials and color palette. I’m gathering a mother nature vibe from it. Do you feel that nature is inherently female?
Absolutely not. I feel society seems to puzzle nature and femininity together. Sort of this nature paired with nurture thing- with nurturing being an inherently feminine quality by societies standards.
To me nature is not associated with any one gender. Nature is neutral. Nature is energy. We are energy. Man or woman, we are one. I don't segregate it.
This piece could just as well've been a male form had I the proper reference material on hand and had society not coined it as "mother nature".
Also given this is a show centered on women, it fit more than a male figure.
Are you currently inspired by any other artists? If so, who?
Oh goodness yes. Too many to name. So many brilliant artistic minds out there.
Do you feel any sort of connection with other female hyper-realist painters? Your fragmentation reminds me of Marilyn Minter but you avoid the stereotypical feminine signifiers she uses. Do you strive to make your work less “girly” and more serious?
Honestly I'm just not a "girly" lass. I'm very much a tomboy, so the typical feminine signifiers don't usually work their way into my art.
It's extremely unnatural for me to put that "feminine touch" in my work since it's just not who I am. When I do fuse more classic feminine signifiers into a painting, I feel a massive disconnect to the work. It's just not me, and can feel forced.
I don't feel any connection to female hyperrealist painters or female painters in general. I don't look at art and connect to it based on the sex of the artist. I connect to art based strictly on its content.
If the artist plugs in classical feminine signifiers, than I'm most likely not going to connect to it since I don't connect to anything overly fem in life outside of art- whether that's painted by a man or woman.
There's probably tons of work I've connected to on an emotional level that was created by female artists and I'd've never known they were female.
I don't use sex for connection. I don't use sex for segregation.
There are males that connect to feminine markers more than some women will, and more masculine markers some women will connect to over some men. So gender has no place in my art world. These markers are mostly societally groomed traits. I like to think art born of pure passion and emotion transcends developed gender rolls and sex signifiers.