Monday, October 5, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Drywall, laminate, foam, fiberglass, and carpeting sound more like materials for a home renovation than a painting. But for artist Katie Bell, interiors have infiltrated her work so much that building materials have become her paint and 30-foot walls her canvas. “I work with rough discarded building materials, but I want them to appear as elegant paint strokes, splatters, and lines,” Bell states. “I’m looking for colors, shapes, lines, and forms that could make up something bigger.”

Playing with the dichotomy of hard and soft, light and heavy, Bell’s large-scale installations in faux-marble and thick, pastel paint splatters leave you guessing at their fragility. Ahead of the opening of tonight’s show Surface Matters at The Knockdown Center, we caught up with Katie to talk about hot tubs, “chips and dip” paintings, and... dog bones?

CECILIA SALAMA: Do you see your installations as paintings?
KATIE BELL: I see all of my work as coming from a conversation about painting and drawing. I studied painting in school, so I think in some way, I am programmed to think in a painting space first, even though my works are extremely sculptural.

Tell me about your process. How do you start designing a work? 
A huge part of my work is drawing. Since the scale of the work is pretty big, the drawings I make beforehand help me think through my ideas. Once I come up with something I am excited about, I make a model. They have become an important part of working through ideas fast.

I also noticed a dog bone in your studio...
I have a few dog bones, but no dog though. Sometimes I end up buying things just because I like their color or shape. I like the color of rawhide and the funny knot shapes that dog bones make.

How do you go about sourcing your home materials? 
I pick a lot of stuff up off of the street or in dumpsters. My studio is in a cabinet shop, so I get a lot of remnants from them as well. Certain items are slightly more specialized. For instance, recently I was trying to track down a used hot tub. During a visit to Phoenixville, PA I had befriended a woman who runs a pool and spa store who now lets me come in to cut into old hot tubs she’s throwing out. She’s even started texting me pictures of hot tubs that come into the store.

Tell me a bit about the pieces you are installing for the Surface Matters group show at The Knockdown Center.
I am showing three new paintings, works on plaster panels that sit on laminate shelving. In addition to those paintings, I have been working on-site to create a wall installation using the drywall as the canvas. There are laminate shards cutting into the wall, plaster splatters, and paint washes that create a 3D wallpaper of sorts. I have been describing the piece as chips and dip: the wall is the dip and I am just putting a bunch of chips in it.

Surface Matters, curated by Holly Shen and Samantha Katz, opens September 24th at The Knockdown Center and runs through October 17. 

The Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave
Maspeth, NY

Knockdown Center, 'Surface Matters'


 Carolyn Salas in the foreground.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Surface Matters

A show of artists who use common construction materials to make their art. It’s pretty familiar territory, but this particular group of artists have consistently found new approaches to the medium. In fact, I can’t figure out why Katie Bell and Carolyn Salas aren’t art market darlings the likes of Heather Rowe. Both make elegant sculptures, installations and wall works that like Rowe suggest interiors and sometimes architectural structures. This show is a must-see.
Artists include: Katie Bell, Carolyn Salas, Leah Dixon, Daria Irincheeva, Brett Day Windham
Curated by Holly Shen, Samantha Katz

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NYFA 2015 Painting Fellow

I was recently awarded a NYFA Fellowship in Painting.  Along with these other amazing artists:

Louise Belcourt (Kings), Katie Bell (Kings), Matt Bollinger (Kings), Patrick Brennan (Kings), Andrew Brischler (Kings), Michael Cloud (Kings), Paul DeMuro (Kings), Erik den Breejen (Kings), Ariel Dill (New York), Franklin Evans (New York), Angelina Gualdoni (Kings), Elisa Jensen (Kings), Jenny Kemp (Rensselaer), Maia Cruz Palileo (Kings), Jenna Ransom (Kings), Eleanor Ray (Kings), Robert Salmieri (Kings), Christopher Schade (Kings), Zoe Schade (Kings), Laura Shechter (Kings), Adam Parker Smith (Kings), Jansson Stegner (Queens), Joy Taylor (Dutchess), Melissa Thorne (Rensselaer), Adrian Tone (Kings), Frank Webster New York), Randy Wray (Kings), Chris Wright (Kings), Mie Yim (New York)

Upcoming Group Show

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Feature on Maake Magazine

Check out this interview and feature on my work in Maake Magazine

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Upcoming Group Show---

Curated by Inna Babaeva and Gelah Penn
Lesley Heller Workspace is delighted to present object’hood, an exhibition curated by artists Inna Babaeva and Gelah Penn, July 22 - August 21, 2015. Opening reception: Wednesday, July 22, 6 – 8 PM.

Front Gallery and Workspace:  In the past few years, there has been an exciting resurgence in sculpture. The reinvigoration of the medium has simmered quietly alongside a more public interest in painting. However, the current breadth, energy and sheer number of vibrant works being made in three dimensions call out for close examination.
For object’hood, Penn and Babaeva have selected artists who mine the depths of other disciplines in order to inform and enrich their work, resulting in a kind of revitalization through contamination. Referencing painting, installation, drawing, architecture, pattern and decoration, craft, design, video, photography and material culture, these artists have constructed pieces that are extraordinarily rich pictorially, thematically and materially. These “porous” objects reside in a complex locus of their own invention and speak to each other in strong, sonorous voices—lyrical, cacophonous, playful, anxiety-ridden—that command our attention.
Artists in the exhibition:
Rachel Beach, Katie Bell, Isidro Blasco, Nicole Cherubini, Martha Clippinger, Joy Curtis, Matthew Deleget, Peter Dudek, Kate Gilmore, Don Gummer, Mike Hein, Elana Herzog, Lisa Hoke, Christopher Joy, Harry E. Leigh, Elisa Lendvay, Doreen McCarthy, Sheila Pepe, Sarah Peters, Judy Pfaff, Don Porcaro, Elise Siegel, Kirk Stoller, Daniel Wiener, Letha Wilson

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Group Show in San Francisco

C2c project space is pleased to announce our summer exhibition Project #7
This show is a break from our standard programming, where an artist from New York is paired with one from the bay area, and the duo is given the run of our space.  Instead, Project #7 features a focus on curatorial process combined with the underpinning c2c concept.   This decision allows us to present what is our nod to the perennial art world institution that is the  “summer group show” without forgoing our mission to act as a catalyst in the cultivation of a broader bicoastal art-based conversation. 
Therefore, for Project #7, we are excited to have the opportunity to pair two curators, Christopher Joy from NYC and Cléa Massiani from San Francisco.
Christopher Joy is a NYC based curator and partner in the Brian Morris Gallery ( He is also a co-producer of the documentary art project Gorky’s Granddaughter ( and maintains a studio sculpture practice as well.  Cléa Massiani is a curator, writer, and artist representative currently working in the Bay Area. Originally from France, she holds a Masters degree in Early Modern History from the Sorbonne and a second one in Exhibition and Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. Cléa is a founding partner at Bass & Reiner Gallery ( in San Francisco. Both Massiani and Joy engage in a process where their selections are based on choosing artists doing work that, when shown together form a dialog that has the potential of expanding on and elaborating their original curatorial concept.   
For Project 7, Joy and Massiani have worked loosely in adherence to the theme of “domesticity”.  This is intended to highlight the exhibition space’s alternative nature  as the home of artist and c2c director Kirk Stoller, while also stretching the limits of what is considered domestic. Artists whose work is featured include NYC artists Glen Goldberg, Todd Knopke, and Katie Bell, and Stephanie Rohlfs, Lauren DiCioccio and Imin Yeh from the Bay Area.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

 Pin drawing at PACE by Tara Donovan