Berman Museum

Katelyn Doherty, Psych City, 2021. Watercolor on paper. 40 x 60 inches.
Katelyn Doherty, Psych City, 2021. Watercolor on paper. 40 x 60 inches.

Katelyn Doherty

Artist Statement

My work is a mix of representational and naturalistic forms. It is bright, playful, and fun. Through this work, I explore different cultural and social norms that have been on my mind for a while. There’s also a tone of sarcasm. The most important visual aspects of my works are color and text. The text is sometimes coded and difficult or impossible to read to stimulate the viewer’s imagination. I want the viewers to get lost in the work; to fully dive in and forget that they’re viewing a piece of artwork. This transportive escapist quality is something that I’ve always loved about art. Detail is important to my work because details have a lot to say. My work may be perceived as fictional because I depict existing objects, places, people and manipulate them to create something new, to break rules, and to take the viewer to someplace new.

My artistic process usually begins with a brainstorm, first explored through writing. Then I jump into the work through explorations in multiple media. I use bright colors—a combination of numerous shades—to suggest different meanings and affect interpretation. For example, the color yellow can make someone excited, while the color blue can make someone feel distant or emotional. I allow my feelings to motivate my color decisions. I use different media to build texture and use string and thread directly on the canvas to bring it to life. By collaging string and scraps of drawings directly onto the canvas, then painting on top of it, I facilitate new working and viewing experiences. I work intuitively with media: canvas, paper, watercolor, India ink, oil paint, acrylic paint, and charcoal. In my recent body of work, I experimented with digital motion to create different textures and new ways to break the flat surface of a painting or a drawing.

Thematically, my work engages with reality vs. fiction, religion, social norms, and current events, such as racial injustice going on in the world and chaos in the world of politics. I feel passionately that everyone should be treated equally and we must fight the power because we live in a democracy and it would be wrong to not use that right for bettering others’ lives. I am privileged to have the power to speak my mind freely and want to use it to help others. I like to push ideas past the breaking point. I am heavily influenced by virtual tours of the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Since it was not feasible to travel to Las Vegas during the pandemic, I relied on virtual tours to transport me from the comfort of my studio. I took screen shots and began to create my own versions of this digital world. My work is motivated by the idea of making a statement without even having to speak. I always felt outspoken, yet sometimes have the hardest time saying what I feel. When I turn to the canvas, I can say so much through paint, lines, and colors. I made this body of work to comment on the current state of the world and to escape the realities of the pandemic and what it’s taken from me. Art has been the one thing that remained constant and steady for me. It allows me to express my experiences with religion and mental health issues, to create identity, and to think, to question, and to seek new truths and ideas.

Follow Katelyn Doherty on Instagram @silktale.designs