the official bio:
Kate Ali’s interdisciplinary sculpture takes familiar items and re-contextualizes them. In doing this she investigates the ways in which we relate to the world and its objects through space, materiality and association. Because she is using forms that reference a utilitarian entity, there is an interactive quality to much of her work.
Soon after receiving her BFA from California College of the Arts she was awarded the Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship Grant for Visual Arts. She has exhibited her work in California, New York, Oregon and recently in Japan after participating in an international residency at Gallery Sudoh. Kate’s public art experience ranges from artist and designer to project manager, giving her a unique perspective on the public art world.
Kate is currently an Art Coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission’s Percent for Art program.
in her own words...
I was raised amongst craftsmen. My father is a potter, my mother a seamstress, our friends were woodworkers, metal smiths, and fiber artists. My entire life has been surrounded by makers, their processes, and their well crafted functional objects.
In my work, I take familiar objects and re-contextualize them through location, functionality, material, or a combination of references to other objects. Researching the appropriate visual references and materials for each concept can take me months before I am happy with a combination. This mixture of imagery and materials is an attempt to communicate my life experiences in hopes that others can relate and connect with my visual interpretations. The functionality of my work is in its ability to create a conversation in my absence.
An integral part of my sculpture has been the implied figure. Even if I create parts of the human form, there is reference to another party. I want viewers to ask themselves, who is this object for and what does its use imply.
By using forms that reference a utilitarian entity, I tempt viewers to take action with the work. I want to engage people both physically and mentally. Pick it up, listen, put it on, sit down, look inside, climb-in, all of those familiar actions that our daily objects evoke, reinterpreted within the confines of a fine art object.
Because I often mix visual references in my work, I generally need to use a combination of materials. For example if I want to allude to the comfort of a place and the stability it provides, I find it far more engaging to combine a material that evokes comfort, such as cotton, with one that suggests stability, such as wood, rather than trying to make one material do both.
Curiosity about materials and processes has driven the direction my work has taken. Each material I become familiar with opens up new possibilities with what can be communicated and where the work can exist. It is this cycle of material exploration, concept and site, which keeps me engaged as an artist.