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Katie St. Clair

Education

MFA University of Michigan–Stamps School of Art and Design
BFA Art Academy of Cincinnati

Background

My painting practice is built off what I see, what I experience and how I interpret the landscape. Whether deep in a cave or hiking over a volcanic mountain, I gather inspiration from the rich sensations of living or dying life, the crunching of pine nettles under my boots or the specific texture of lichen on stone. These perceptions inform my subject matter and working methods in the studio. My paintings reveal themselves as complex layers of paint, experimental processes, collage material and photographs that reflect upon the natural world.

Prioritizing research in travel and studio experimentation and pursuing collaborations allows me to internalize the knowledge and physical process of art and transform the emotional experience into a tangible form. My passion in my creative practice is strengthened by a desire to share this knowledge through teaching. In my classes, we cover a broad spectrum of techniques, from fundamentals to material experiments informed by the students' ideas. I encourage all participants to stretch their capacity for curiosity, problem solving and imagination.

I have been funded through my art to travel to countries in Southeast Asia, South America and Europe. Over the summer of 2012, I took a solo trip to Indonesia to study the cultural views surrounding life cycles: refuse degrading on streets, the burning of native landscapes and death rituals. I have gone on caving trips to collect imagery deep under-ground, and spent weeks diving in the Indian Ocean to photograph the dying reefs. In 2013, I was awarded a Smucker Wagstaff Scholarship to embark on an ambitious 800-mile solo bike ride through Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

My paintings have exhibited nationally and internationally at the Burren College of art in Ireland, Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago to name a few. In 2014, I received Best in Show at the Toledo Museum of Art from art critic Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times.