Kate Hampel

Portfolio (click on thumbnail for full image)

My practice works to examine, extrapolate and describe the unvoiced traumas implicit in our social contracts. Although these traumas captivate the public when they are rendered as lurid accounts of incest, rape and murder, their day-to-day manifestations are generally silenced and dismissed. Individuals actively disavow any connection between their own lives and the horrors they read of in the news, yet they are fascinated and repelled by the distorted reflections of themselves made apparent in such tales. My work insists on discussing this unresolved tension by enlarging it, implicating the audience and forcing their acknowledgement.

Throughout the various media that make up my practice the authorial voice remains ambiguous, leaving the viewer to supply the narrative context. Juxtaposed with this ambiguity is the work's insistence on the haptic, which belies the fact that these pieces are ultimately questions. My process incorporates both craftsmanship and purposeful amateurism in its concern with the material. Large-scale installations and sculptures are composed of "low" materials familiar to the body and forgo display devices to insert themselves directly into an encounter with the viewer. Video pieces, composed with attention to recording quality, are similarly confrontational, using gaze and perspective to confuse the relationship between watched and watcher, object and subject, victim and perpetrator.

Linking Karen Finley to Laurel Nakadate and re-examining post-feminist theory through the lens of Celine Parrenas Shimizu's "productive perversity," my work functions in the overlapping arenas of sexuality, gender, and hegemony--topics that remain of the utmost relevance despite generational apathy. By making manifest the viewer's own involvement, the work denies propriety and insists on creating a new conversation, an uncomfortable one for everyone involved.

Personal Website: www.katehampel.com