My art aims at exploring the underlying messages imbued in contemporary visual culture with a focus in the symbology of Americana. The curated collection of objects and images in my work present a snapshot of culture, the past is present today. How we conceptualize history will determine our futures, I feel in the modern era we have wrongfully written off historical systematic oppression as a non-issue, as a matter of differences in taste. I create art that explores the visual record from the 20th century onwards, mapping how cultural ideologies are communicated in the media. Western culture has turned into an echo chamber, full of confirmation bias. Through my assemblage I want to explore the social power of hand-me-down objects, imagery and architypes.
My practice is rooted in a love of learning and exploration, with a strong sense of moral responsibility. I am inspired by the synthesis of art and philosophy, such as Hilma Af Klint’s work. Collage and assemblage aesthetics of art history fuel my work, à la Jean Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg and Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz. I see meaning and truth in the layering of images; the perspective and repetition show the undercurrents of thought in society. Like the work of Dada and Surrealist movements and artists like Max Ernst and Hannah Hoch, my work celebrates the juxtaposition of visual artifacts. My personal travels have inspired the art I make. The resourcefulness of materials and chaotic interwoven overlapping of time and place has permeated my work. During my time in Southeast Asia, I was struck by the necessity for shelter, a lack of resources, and appreciation of what is available. I observed discarded billboards and corrugated steel, layered with images, built into homes. Drawn by similar motives, I want to use what is available to tell a narrative about the reality I live in.
The mediums of collage and assemblage are rooted in a working class sensibility, born out of necessity. I am a mixed media artist interested in alternative processes and mixing traditional fine art media in unconventional ways. I incorporate multiple mediums including painting, drawing, collage, found objects, and sculpture. Working with materials that have lived a life of their own allows me to respond to the history and messages in a more direct way. I seek a certain kind of realism in my work. Using collage and assemblage, I can communicate how I see the world: the bombardment of messages, notifications, headlines, search results and internet imagery saturating real life.
The chaotic overlap of stimuli results in the overall picture being more abstract. I often work with small vignettes within a larger work, moments that contribute to the larger narrative of the work. As an individual member of a larger entity, it is sometimes hard to visualize one’s place in the chaos. I want the viewer to see themselves as part of the larger scheme like any one individual element in the artwork is part of the whole. Each part played serves the overarching message. My work is the sum of parts brought together, I try to convey the value in the reconfigured discarded elements, to speak to a brighter tomorrow. I make found object artworks that record fleeting elements of life, highlighting the passage of time. My art curates memories to present an artifact of socialization.
Katie Huttenmeyer was born and raised just outside of Denver, Colorado. From an early age she took an interest in a wide range of media. This experimentation led to her multi-emphasis degree from the University of Colorado Denver. She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Art Practices with a primary concentration in Painting and Drawing, and secondary concentration in Transmedia Sculpture, as well as a double-minor in Art History and Philosophy in 2020. Huttenmeyer has backpacked Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. She has a passion for learning and exploration. She currently works at the Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado as an Assistant Art Coordinator. Through this position, Huttenmeyer helps in the curation and management of the multilocational collection and the rotating Frederic C. Hamilton Gallery, as well as in creating the Children’s Hospital’s first cloud-based archive of artwork. Striking a balance between being an art maker and an art lover, Huttenmeyer finds art management engaging and rewarding.
The artist has been in many group exhibitions around Colorado. Her first works were shown in 2010, and she has continued showing up to the present. Katie has shown multiple times in the past couple years in the juried exhibitions at Emmanuel Gallery in Denver, Colorado. In January of 2020, Huttenmeyer was in a show at Pirate Contemporary Art in Lakewood, juried by Tim Vacca of the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, Colorado. In the past, Huttenmeyer’s work has been shown at GLDN Mill Gallery in Golden in 2018 and the Steve Adams Gallery in Littleton in 2015.
Katie Huttenmeyer is a multi-media artist utilizing collage, assemblage, painting, drawing, and metalwork to create art that challenges the everyday and sheds light on normalization within society. Huttenmeyer’s work engages in social commentary that explores Americana and nostalgia, often focusing on gender roles and the female body. Her artwork aims to unveil hidden truths and spark a conversation about present day.