How Beautiful is thy Dwelling

An Exhibition by Kate Allen
On view from December 14, 2015  - January 31, 2016

Please join us for an exhibition reception with the artist
on Saturday, January 30th from 6-8 PM at the cafe!

Artist's Exhibition Statement:

Since I was a child I have had the habit of holding onto memories. I would try so hard to hold onto the good ones and relive them in my mind, only to have them fade too quickly. Conversely, I would try desperately hard to forget the difficult memories only to have them become more and more vivid in my mind.

My memories of bad experiences haunt me and keep me from moving on. I dwell on them all the time, and wish I could go back and change them, or at least move on. I find myself getting angry about events that happened years ago. I must be a masochist because I revisit objects or old diaries that remind me about these events for no reason other than to see what? Perhaps to see what I wrote, or remember how I felt, maybe even to put myself back into painful experiences?

I was talking with my husband a couple years ago, talking again about something that was still bothering me from my past, he suggested I try putting these disconcerting experiences into my work - to use this work as a way to finally realize these events and then put them away and move on.

In brainstorming I found the best way to carry out the idea was to use the still life as a vehicle for representing my struggle. I believe the tradition of the Still Life as a symbolic medium allowed me to communicate difficult moments in my life without literally recreating them. My photographs became a code for my memories involving sexual assault, broken relationships, regrets, insults, personal threats, loss, betrayal, natural disasters, and physical pain. I liked this idea, because a lot of my past work has dealt with viewers being able to bring their own experiences to the photographs and come up with their own read without me spelling out exactly what is going on.

I want to take these hard memories and create something beautiful from them. I want to turn them from ugly memories into something less frightening, even into comforting moments, like the good memories that we all try so desperately to hold onto.

To create beauty from my dwelling.

Most people will experience one or more of these events in their lifetime and just as my images have brought me a sense of “letting go” and “moving on” I am hoping that perhaps they might also reach out to someone else. Whether their damage is similar to mine or completely different, perhaps they can find answers in themselves or simply appreciate how beauty and order can emerge from something horrible.

About the Artist

Kate grew up in Japan, Okinawa, Colorado, and Korea as a daughter of an Air Force Officer. She holds an MFA in Photography from the University of Iowa and a Graduate Certificate in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Her work has been shown in galleries around the United States and abroad.

My photography explores the hidden beauty found in non-traditional environments. The photos are generally given without reference or context, allowing the viewer to create his/her own narrative.

For more information about the artist, please visit:

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