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Kate Casanova

January 2011 – March 2011
In Spoils, installation artist Kate Casanova explores the human struggle to exist within natural and man-made worlds. At the center of this struggle is a boundless appetite for beauty. The need for beauty is not inherently destructive, but the lust for limited resources is, and drives an ominous proliferation of luxury. Casanova uses faux materials such as fur and gold, to construct a lavish environment of excess and opulence. Biomorphic forms in various states of growth and decay activate the viewer’s urge to touch and instinct to recoil. Through this action of engaging the senses, the complexity of desire is felt viscerally. Spoils reveals that in a world of limited resources, the commodification of beauty places humans at odds with their own desires and situates the viewer within this timely paradox.
Growing up on the Minnesota/Canadian border surrounded by trees and water, my visual vocabulary assembled itself from snake nests, rabbit’s fur and icicles. My family owned sled dogs instead of a television. On one of our sled dog runs, we came across a fresh wolf kill. All that remained was a ten foot swath of red and a few tufts of deer fur punctuating the crisp, glistening snow. It is images like these that define the unnerving beauty I strive to unearth in my art.
I am fascinated by human perceptions of nature and draw on conventions such as the curiosity cabinet, the expedition, the nature book, and the natural history museum for inspiration. I work with both material and living organisms to create visual experiences in which sensation trumps language. In my surreal creations, fungi grow out of furniture, crustaceans crawl on heads, and land masses float. I strive to create poetic moments that examine our human relationship to the natural world.

-Kate Casanova
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past exhibitions