The Pieces That Find Us
Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town (28.04.22 - 09.06.22)

This exhibition by Katherine Bull is assembled from works by the artist spanning twenty years of practice in printmaking, performance, painting, drawing and collage. Sourced from the artist’s personal collection:

“ Some of the works are fresh from the studio, others have found their way back there after a brief public appearance, while others bear the traces of performances.”

Approached in the spirit of collage - a strategy that has the potential to bring both fresh potentials and uncomfortable juxtapositions - Katherine Bull reflects on the different ways that she returns to a fascination with the unresolved nature and shifting technologies of perception.

“From my early data capture portraits and performances to my more recent paintings reflecting on various digital environments - I am drawn to the thresholds of where images form and dissolve in the process of representation. “

This tension between the need for resolution that predominates the artist’s sense of sight and a desire for dissolution experienced in embodied awareness - speaks to her interest in the quantum entanglement of being as becoming.

 “This tension leads me to continually return to performative actions and convoluted systems of obstructing my senses while making. By drawing attention to the process of an image slipping into and out of being, I can inhabit the centre and periphery. I can be separate yet interconnected, a witness and participant, teacher and student - within an evolving spiral of learning and unlearning.”

The Pieces That Find Us also included interactive collage work. Visitors were invited, via a prompt, to select a page at random from the magazines and to create a collage from that page and stick it down on the reverse of the prompt page. Any remains from the page were left for me to use in a collage that I developed during the exhibition. The accumulation of individual pieces will be in conversation with the growing collage. This work is an extension of my ongoing meditative collage making.

Over the last ten years collage has returned to my studio process as a more meditative practice. I randomly choose pages from old National Geographic magazines, encyclopedias and books while meditating. I then task myself with creating a collage by finding elements in the pages that I have chosen. I enjoy the challenge of creating something new from random choices and allowing for subconscious elements to emerge.
My choice to work with the National Geographic magazine is informed by the personal memories of growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s with no internet and these image rich magazines were a source of wonder and virtual travel. In hindsight of course the way that non-urban cultures are portrayed as exotic is problematic. The National Geographic magazine also symbolises for me an analogue reminder of the cultural imperialism so prevalent on the Internet - where data sets continue to be inherently flawed with biases towards particular world views. The tearing and cutting up of the magazines becomes a way to reflect on my comfort/discomfort with the material. I am interested to see how opening up the process for other people to take on the initial role of the meditative selection of the pieces will expand this dialogue.