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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hsieh (MissyChiao)

藝術家專訪|凱特.博雅 Cat Bowyer 「壓力下的鎮定」

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

"Composed Under Compression" : Interview with Cat Bowyer

採訪編輯 Editor|Joanne Hsieh

翻譯 Translation|Joanne Hsieh

圖 Image Courtesy|Cat Bowyer 提供


Can you tell us where you’re from (or where you’re based), what it’s like and any

personal favorite spots you’d recommend for visitors?

Cat:我成長於中西部,目前定居在芝加哥,伊利諾州。如果你來玩,我強力推薦芝加哥學院美術館,在夏日的密西哥河畔散步,去 Vaca Creamery 吃全素霜淇淋,或是去Middlebrow的 Bungalow 的露台座位吃窯烤披薩。

I grew up in the Midwest and am now based in Chicago, IL. If visiting, I highly recommend checking out the Art Institute, take a summertime walk along Lake Michigan and grab some vegan soft-serve ice cream from Vaca Creamery or brick oven pizza on the patio at Bungalow by Middlebrow.

Q:你目前的工作室以及生活和工作的狀態是?以藝術家身份在芝加哥生活的感覺? What’s your current studio/ work/ life situation? What’s it like for you living & working

as an artist in Chicago?

Cat:目前我在當地一間美術中心擔任金屬與首飾部門的主任。我也兼任一位有名金屬藝術家的助理,有時候我會在成人班或青少年班教授美術課。我主要在位於Logan Square的家裡創作軟雕塑,在 Studio 2052 製作金屬作品(位在畫廊 2052 的後方)。

Currently, I’m the department director of a metalsmithing & jewelry program at a local art center. I also assist a well-known metalsmithing artist and sometimes teach youth and adult art classes. I primarily do the soft work from my home studio in Logan Square and any metalwork at Studio 2052 (the back-of-the-house metalsmithing studio at Gallery 2052).

Installation view at Baby Blue Gallery, 2022.

Q:和我們聊聊在 Baby Blue Gallery 的「壓縮下的鎮定」個展-- 展覽的緣由,過程中遇到哪些挑戰,以及你最享受的部分。

Please tell us more about “Composed Under Compression” at Baby Blue Gallery.

(What inspired you to, what were some challenges & What you enjoyed most.)

Cat:最初是在疫情衝擊期間我在家裡開始用針戳刺繡。因為全球的疫情、動盪不安和個人的負面情緒而憂鬱,我開始在回憶中尋找快樂的感受。我注意到很多回憶是和觸感有關的。例如我孩提時代房間中的地毯,或是在腳趾頭陷在後院草地中的感覺。這個觸感的記憶讓我自然而然想製作如地毯般柔軟的作品。我也喜歡針織毛毯那種不拘小節的柔軟特質— 其原始作用— 被踩踏,被鋪上,睡在其上,因時間的推移展現出被使用過的痕跡。

I started with needle punch embroidery during the early pandemic. Feeling depressed with all the global chaos, plus some personal woes, I began doing memory research related to feelings of joy. I began to see a pattern of memories tied to sensory memory, like the feel of the carpet in my childhood bedroom or the feelings of grass between my toes in the backyard. Naturally I was attracted to the idea of creating soft carpet-like work because of this sensory connection. I also appreciate the non-pretentious quality of rugwork as it is usually a material that is walked on, slept on and shows evidence of wear over time.

羅馬柱系列是從小件的項鍊品項開始的,後來逐漸延伸到牆上的肢體作品。我喜歡能夠用毛線來畫畫。當 Baby Blue畫廊邀請我當駐店藝術家,開啟了製作更大型作品、以及表演互動形式作品的可能性。畫廊空蕩的空間讓我得以進行裝置藝術的實驗。我在家時常運用自己的小件作品佈置各種類似祭壇的擺設,所以這個進行這件裝置藝術的過程感覺非常自然。

I started this column series with making smaller necklace pieces and eventually moved on to some figural wall works. I love that I can be more illustrative with rugwork and draw with the yarn. When Baby Blue invited me to be a resident artist in their gallery space, it opened the possibilities to work larger and more interactive/performative. The time spent in the empty gallery space allowed me to experiment with installation. I’m always creating little shrine compositions of small objects in my studio and home so this type of play with my work came pretty naturally.


The residency also opened me up to creating a larger costume-like sculpture where I was able to embody some of my drawings and wall works of the human/column hybrids. Performance always seemed like a next step for me with my work always including the body in some form, and this opportunity was perfect for experimenting.


How would you describe your work to a stranger?


I tend to always consider the body when I make art, whether it be

wearable or the muse. My current body of work is a fantastical cult-like satirical narrative that touches on mimicry, ritual and play as modes of survival. The column has become the grounding imagery as I play with mirroring it to the human form and distorting its natural structure. The show includes textile necklaces, vestments, garments, costumes, wallworks, sculptures and a video performance.


Did you always know you want to make art?


I think so. As a kid if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said an archeologist. The fascination and mystery of cultural artifacts always had me filled with curiosity. That’s probably why I’m an artist today. I find joy in sharing the human experience through art and objects since it connects me to a larger shared world beyond a physical reality.


What do you wish the viewer to take away from this body of work?


I hope this new body of work brings lightness and joy even when its inspirations have roots in darker feelings.


What inspires your aesthetic choices?


I respect how the column has existed throughout time and place in many secular institutions. It generally stands with buildings of academics, sciences, government and community. I also enjoy juxtaposing the idea of a stable structure and making it soft, flexible and distorted.


What’s your favorite body of work created by another artist?

Cat:Wangechi Mutu的「精彩絕倫的旅程」。

Wangechi Mutu’s A Fantastic Journey.

A Fantastical Journey, Wangechi Mutu.


Who inspire you? Who are some of your favorite writers, artists or musicians?


Louise Bourgeois, Eve Hesse, Adrienne Marie Brown, Octavia Butler, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Patty Smith


what do you collect?


I collect small trinkets, beads and lost artifacts of contemporary culture. The wear and tear is humanness.


What was your favorite activity as a child and is it relevant to your work as an artist



Exploring outside aimlessly as a kid. During the summer, we were told to go outside and play, only returning for fuel and rest. I think aimless wandering is rooted in my curiosity of the world around me so as an artist my body in spaces with all senses open play an important role in how, when and why I make work.


What’s the best advice you have received?


Power of limitations. Create or draw inspiration from personal experiences. (trends are overrated).

Q:可以推薦我們一個紀錄片或一本書嗎?Can you recommend us a documentary or a book(s)?


I just finished reading Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.


What are some short-term & long-term goals for you?


Short-term - finish my website; Long-term - keep the making momentum in making among the juggle of jobs.


Special thanks to Cat bowyer.


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