Although Kathryn Combs’ image is a simple, albeit dynamic, point-of-view of a train trestle, the incomplete fields of text that fill in the open areas of sky hint at something else; an urban folk legend placed in southeastern Jefferson County that positions the highly-placed train crossing as the home of a hybrid creature known as “The Pope Lick Monster.” The legend includes that the “sheepman” lured young people out onto the trestle, and the facts are that more than one tragic death is tied to the location, which the artist follows through on with grisly, yet enigmatic, suggestion.
“My work explores the relationship of individual history and common experience. In my art, I combine technology with traditional print media in the form of digitally rendered images put to a plate with any combination of lithography, screen printing, etching, drawing, collage and hand coloring. For each print I conduct intensive research, tapping into public records such as geographical maps, photo archives, and biographical databases. I am also inspired by firsthand accounts, local legends, and oral history. Using these resources, I compose images that contrast familiar scenes with unusual and uncanny features. I like using elements within my prints that play on the viewer’s visual literacy. Glassware and keys become shorthand for domestic life, historical photos of small towns are synonymous with Americana, and famous artworks are tantamount to our entire experience as viewers of art. I interrupt this visual code with color, drawing, and layering of visually represented data (e.g. maps or charts). These interruptions tip off the viewer that there may be more to the image than expected, and convinces them to take a second look.”
Combs uses archival photography to connote specific places and/or times from the past, attempting to connect history to present experience in a combination of collective memory and contemporary printmaking technique.
Combs’ work will be included in the Senior Thesis Exhibition scheduled to open March 1st at the IU Southeast Barr Gallery in New Albany, Indiana, as well as the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, Juried Exhibition, Indiana University Southeast, which runs through February 18, 2018, and was curated by Amethyst Beaver (21c).
Hometown: Crothersville, Indiana
Education: BFA candidate in Printmaking at Indiana University Southeast - Graduating in May
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.