Artist: Katia Swihart
Exhibition: Description of a Struggle
Media: Color aid Paper, Origami paper, Paint, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Katia Swihart is a Long Beach native and has always had an interest in art since she was a child. In the 2nd grade she won an art competition at her school which motivated her to study art in college. She has attended the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for four years as a Studio Art major. She will be graduating this spring with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Swihart’s years in the fast-food service and working at a day care center inspired her to create this exhibition.
Swihart’s specialty is studio art. In this exhibition there are several canvases of many sizes and colors. On these canvases there are collages of comics, drawings and crafts made by the children she cares for. She also incorporates objects from her home and fabrics that remind her of her childhood and hold personal value to her. All these things attached to the canvas make it seem like a sculpture but Swihart intentionally painted over them to blur the lines between painting and sculpture.
To create her art, Swihart channels her suppressed emotions of rage and grief. When she paints she uses those emotions to fuel her impulsive moves of her brush strokes and the colors she chooses. The colors she chose are bright but also murky to change the playful mood of children’s objects into something darker. Through her art she is trying to express her suppressed emotions caused by childhood trauma with her father. Her work focuses on her unapologetic reflection of personal anger and figuring out her identity as an artist.
Synthesis/ My Experience
Walking into Swihart’s exhibition, it was immediately clear that her art channeled strong emotions of rage. The colors she mostly used were all bright reds and oranges symbolizing anger. The blues symbolized sadness. I could tell this was a very personal representation of the artist herself. It was a little sad to see how much she has suffered and these art pieces are definitely the narratives of her experiences. However, I’m glad to see that her art is her own form of therapy for dealing with her emotions.