Katy Pinke | March 2022
Katy Pinke (b. 1988 Houston, TX) lives and works in New York.
Pinke is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York whose practice encompasses performance, drawing, painting, song, installation, poetry, video, and sometimes combinations thereof. Trained as an actor and performer, she works in the spirit of live performance across disciplines, embracing the ritualistic function of art-making.
Her studio practice is decidedly non-conceptual. Pinke's action-painting-like oeuvre is raw, spontaneous, charged, and musical; it feels like an extension of her performances or a performance of its own. Her works seem like pieces of theatre; only the time scale is compressed instead of linear. "Though I use painting and drawing materials, I don't think of these works as drawings or paintings per se because those words are too static. My works are not repeatable or studied or studies. They are portals/vehicles for healing." And from our curatorial point of view, this is what makes Pinke's work unique.
The artist worked as a Mandarin translator in her twenties in Beijing, which exposed her to Chinese calligraphy and ancient Chinese philosophical texts. Ancient cave paintings and mark-making are also essential references in her practice. Her interest as a musician in the folk genre is also noticeable in her work. Pinke frequently hides poems or personal prayers in her paintings, mixed with invented handwriting, as she thinks about how handwriting connects body and mind, spirit and heart to transformational magic.
"I use mixed media on unstretched, often unprimed, and asymmetrical canvases, and I don't plan. It feels to me like going out on the beach in search of gold in the sand: maybe if I just let out whatever is on the flow of a non-sensical sense of being, I'll eventually unearth some lost language, or invent new language from the debris."
Pinke has shown her work in New York with Echo Arts Initiative, Pablo's Birthday Gallery, and ABC No Rio. The artist has premiered original performance work at Tate Xchange at Tate Modern (London), Tsinghua University (Beijing), Dixon Place (New York), and Summerhall at Edinburgh Fringe (Edinburgh) and participated in performance pieces at the Royal Academy of Arts (London), ARCO Madrid, and Frieze London, among many others. She holds a BA from Princeton University in China Studies and Translation and an MFA from Rose Bruford College (London) in acting. She is currently exhibiting at Heroes Gallery in New York until March 11.