Apr 27, 2010

Introductions: Kate Hampel

This week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture will be presented by Kate Hampel. Kate has an undergraduate degree in Fiber from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. She has also studied at the Centre des Textiles Contemporains, in Montreal and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Her résumé includes solo shows in Toronto, Canada and Daegu, Korea, as well as recent group exhibitions at the Larch, Woman Made Gallery, 1366 Space, and Beverly Art Center in Chicago.

Hampel employs fiber, photography, writing, and performance to create work which is sometimes autobiographical, sometimes abstract, and always emotionally compelling. In her piece look honey, i made you a new one, she confronts a lover (or ex-lover) with a photograph of her holding a reassembled cow heart. The heart has been put back together with medical sutures. The piece is visceral and speaks not just to loss but also to a mechanical or systematized attempt to recover from emotional destruction. Hampel's choice of medical sutures creates a sense of distance from her and the photograph's intended audience. For her this gory act appears simultaneously personal and procedural.

Her current work uses photographs and performance to focus on interpersonal relationships in a domestic context with a specific interest in domestic violence. Using make-up she creates bruises which become physical representations of the long-lasting emotional damage which is sometimes left by others. Hampel writes, "There’s a rupture there that draws me in—closeness, domesticity and family ties open up a chasm of emotion where we find the worst as well as the best." In Hampel's piece something you can believe in, she assumes constructed bruises while sitting next the the famous 1984 Nan Goldin photograph, Nan after being battered. In Goldin's piece she dresses up in her best clothes after being beaten. Hampel seems to take on Goldin in her photograph while paying homage to her as well. Hempel's confrontational gaze implies that while Goldin's physical wounds healed, the emotional damage may never go away.

Kate Hampel's lecture is Tuesday, April 27th at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL.

There will be no lecture next week but in two weeks this semester's noon hour lecture series will conclude with a presentation by Matthew Schlagbaum (Wednesday 5/12).