Thursday, January 23, 2014

Honky Tonk Ennui - Momentum OKC 2014 Spotlight Artist Katy Seals

As a part of Momentum OKC, three artists received $2,000 Momentum Spotlight commissions to create new artwork with feedback from guest curators, Nathan Lee and Samantha Dillehay. Selected Momentum Spotlight artists are Eli Casiano of Oklahoma City, Elliott Robbins of Midwest City, and Katy Seals of Norman.

Airing dirty laundry, artist Katy Seals explores the complicated emotions brought up by divorce. Seals received one of three Spotlight awards for her project “Honky Tonk Ennui”, debuting at Momentum March 7th & 8th.

Preliminary sketch for "Honky Tonk Ennui" by Katy Seals
The installation includes twenty pieces of over-sized women’s underwear, embroidered with lyrics from the Kitty Wells’ song “Honky Tonk Angels.” These lyrics are embroidered by hand, and lend rawness to the delicate fabric. The work is staged as a laundry line, poles anchoring the cords from which the garments are hung, moving private items typically found in a rural residence, to a public sphere accessible by many.

Not only does Seals' work display the uncomfortable emotions of divorce and separation of a relationship, by enhancing the size and scale of these intimate garments, she confronts the viewer, and makes the topic unavoidable. Seals invites viewers to interact with the laundry, in turn becoming a witnessing party to an overwhelming event like divorce.
Katy Seals and her spotlight project in process
A witness to divorce, Seals herself has struggled with the emotions involved in fractured relationships. This work attempts to deal with these difficult emotions through simulating the experience for the viewer: going through someone else’s dirty laundry.

Seals is “interested in creating a visual commentary on low-brow American culture and folklore” and in “Honky Tonk Ennui” the country-western lyrics along with large scale laundry on a line create an interesting dynamic of both sharing intimate feelings, while laughing with, but not at, the appearance of rural American sub-culture.

Submissions for Momentum OKC are due by January 27, 2014 at 5 pm. Oklahoma artists aged 30 and younger are eligible. Momentum OKC opens March 7-8, 8-midnight, at the Farmer's Public Market, OKC.

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