Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Momentum Artist: Keturah Fortner

Keturah Fortner
Keturah Fortner, Paper Trees, Paper, Steel, Plexiglass, 13"x2"x19"
Q: What was the concept behind your Momentum artworks?

Keturah Fortner: As I've gotten older I have become more aware of how fragile nature is and how we as humans affect the world around us. My art is meant to raise awareness of the impact humanity has on the earth and its potential consequences. These works reflect a period of my life when I wonder about having children, what kind of life they will have, and the disorder previous generations may surrender to their care. While making these pieces I also thought a lot about the measuring of Time, as reflected in the rings of a tree, a quilt passed down within a family, and waiting for the weather to change -hopefully for the better.
Keturah Fortner, North Pacific Garbage Patchwork Quilt, Found trash and fabrics, 52"x7'x2"
Q: Explain the technique and/or process you used to create your Momentum works.
KF: The problems facing us are numerous, then too are my interpretations and methods of work. I used subtractive, additive, and casting methods as well as incorporating found objects into this series. In each piece the materials used are just as important to the concept as its formal aspects.  If I want something to look cold or relate very much to humans I'll use metal or plastics, conversely I will use organic materials like wood and clay to relate to nature.

I have a compulsion to find a harmony between the making of something and its concept, for example, using shinier synthetic fabrics as I moved toward the center of the North Pacific Garbage Patchwork Quilt (signifying a higher density of plastics in the water) and using duller cotton based fabrics toward the edges (cleaner, healthier waters).  
Keturah Fortner, Beerometer, Ceramic/cedar/bronze, 3'x5'x2'
I start with an issue that I think people should know about and I brainstorm on how best to talk about it visually through material, texture, color, shape, size, etc. With such serious and sometimes depressing topics I try to add a touch of irony or humor where I can, as evidenced in wood made of paper and punny titles like Bee-rometer. In all I get really excited about solving these puzzles in my art. I only hope we can find the joy in resolving some of the bigger concerns in life.

Momentum OKC opens March 4& 5 with live music, performance and visual art by 97 young Oklahomans.  The exhibition remains on display until March 8 at 311 S Klein, OKC. Learn more or buy tickets here.

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