Things That Kill- Caroline Kapp


Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #29 Part 2: Caroline Kapp


1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Working within a theme is a natural way of working for me, whether it’s a single image idea or larger concept for a series. I generally start everything with sketches, but looking back at the initial concept work for this show, I started with written words and scenarios. Things like ‘ways to be killed’ and ‘things that can die’. This led to more words, ‘suffocation’ ‘buried’ ‘canned’ then concepts like what we find ourselves living up to, or what can break us down, air and breath. Those led to more ideas about what doesn’t kill, what lives and thrives. The sketched images emerged out of those words and concepts. So the process for creating the ideas for this theme was a little different because of the words and scenarios I considered before the sketches that dissected ideas surrounding ‘things’ and ‘kill’ independently of each other as well as together.


2. How did you approach the subject matter?
The subject matter came directly from the sketch concepts, so all of it had to be gathered and staged in different ways, and that’s not unusual in my approach. Some of the objects I worked with for this show required some unusual manipulation or arrangement though, like ‘Consumed’ with the empty cellulose capsules that had to be melted layer by layer with warm water around a straw to form the shape. It took about 6 days to fully dry, and by then it had started decomposing which was fascinating to watch. This theme pushed the need to transform the subject matter more than usual. There was a lot of waiting and gritting of teeth waiting for something to collapse, wilt, pop or explode before actually capturing the imagery or even setting things up.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
The title struck me as menacing when I first heard it, and the show theme really made its way into my subconscious. I think that’s a good thing to happen in any theme or series-based work, but it surprised me; for a while, every article and book I read, every site I looked at, every commute and trip to the grocery store began to relate to killing or surviving – food, work situations, basic needs, power struggles, medicine, health and physical deterioration of all types. This theme definitely led to working with a few new materials and techniques to explore different ways to realize the ideas in relation to the theme – materials that are impermanent, techniques that are not lightfast, things that are really fragile and can break up, fog or deteriorate easily.


“Observing Observing (a white cup): Caroline Kapp”


With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #29: Caroline Kapp”


1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I approached the idea very playfully. I worked in stages, starting with some pieces that explored visual and formal aspects of value, shape and repetition. Working with the absence of color and a focus on shape led me into several other iterations dealing with fingerprints, impressions, then a step back to more of an analytical or functional focus of what makes a cup a cup, being contained or held by, and to hold.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I teach college visual art, design and graphic software courses and do some freelance work on the side.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It surprises me what a tough question that is. The earliest memory I have is drawing a figure that suggested volume. Snaky arms and legs and torso, rather than a stick figure. I was about four, drawing with a purple crayola marker, and of course I didn’t have the vocabulary to interpret or share what made me so excited about how I made that drawing or why, but I will never forget that feeling of discovery and elation that what I drew was somehow closer to what I saw. I don’t know what it’s like to not have the drive to be working on or collecting something, even more now, if it’s scratching down an idea or texting myself an image or capturing video or audio. I think it took many years of hearing people comment to me about this drive to create that I realized that a drive to create isn’t something everyone can relate to, and later on that I had unconsciously been surrounding myself with other people with that same drive because it made me feel a little less insane, whether it be art or music or writing, the medium didn’t matter. Maybe one of those moments is the moment in question.

4. What are your influences?

I’m all over the place. On the photography side I appreciate work that documents or catalogs objects and scientific phenomenon in visually beautiful ways, Anna Atkins, Berenice Abbott, or Karl Blossfeldt come to mind. I appreciate Keiji Uematsu’s work for his precarious sculptural work and impossible photographic illusions that rely so wonderfully on the fixed vantage point to work, and also the ease in which he carries his ideas and visual style so fluidly between mediums. I gravitate to suggestive or conceptual work that shifts context or startles expectation in some manner, work with words or titles essential to the piece, like Bruce Nauman or John Baldessari. I have an innate love for line quality, texture, value and color theory from painting for years, and I’m drawn to really loose, expressionistic figural work like Alice Neel or Oskar Kokoschka, and then on the other side extremely textured precision of Euan Uglow’s compositions.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I work in a small attic-like space with sloped ceilings that serves as an office, art studio and music studio. There is a work table, a cuckoo clock, lots of art books, postcards and instruments, lots of guitar cables all over. It gets great natural afternoon light, at other times lit by two 60watt Ikea bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Maybe it is how I negotiate a busy schedule, but I am more of a mobile idea collector and less of a studio artist in the traditional sense. What I do most regularly is scribble ideas down during random moments and places during the day, and the act of sketching or writing burns the idea into my mind so I’m thinking about it, mapping it out, down to little details of the composition or items I need to find at Goodwill to make it happen. When I do work, I binge on a lot of carefully crafted ideas all at once, without looking back trying not to analyze or second-guess what I am doing. What is fairly consistent, and it’s kind of funny, is that after I capture an idea, I never like the piece and I have to put it away. It never compares to what it was in my mind’s eye, and I have to distance myself for a few weeks or sometimes even months. I think of wolves circling each other as I come to terms with how it differs from what was in my mind. We eventually become amicable again, and sometimes I rework aspects of it, sometimes it was perfectly fine to begin with, but taking the time and space away from the piece is the necessary last step for it to be finished.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in the mediums of photography, drawing and video. I am drawn to these because they have very different connotations or levels of “real” to a viewer based on their unique traditions and histories, and that perception affects interpretation and significance of the subject matter. My ideas often originate from there. It is pretty rare that something will end up in a medium different from what I envisioned because the medium is so much a part of the idea.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I think I use fairly common tools and techniques, but the way I combine the media to suit the idea might be considered unique. For example I often use paintbrushes, charcoal, folded paper and printmaking techniques to make my photographs, photographs, video projections and printmaking paper to make my drawings, and all of the above to make videos. Sometimes the physical process can go through six or eight steps of analog to digital and back.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I play several instruments, compose music, I cook and nerd out on cooking shows, garden, travel, hang out with my dogs.