Beth Katleman, Hostile Nature, USA, 2014

Beth Katleman, Hostile Nature, USA, 2014
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Beth Katleman, Hostile Nature, USA, 2014

Exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Katleman’s Hostile Nature is a unique, handmade porcelain work of art.  With its delicate scroll work, garlands of flowers, and framed allegories in teal and white porcelain, Hostile Nature is inspired by jasperware and by an opulent 18th Century wallpaper from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

With its florid references to the 18th century, this installation by Beth Katleman evokes a world of genteel pleasure, only to reveal a more subversive agenda.  The closer one gets, the more one is struck by what Anthony Haden Guest calls Katleman’s “naughty Arcadia.” The pastoral scenes are populated with figurines cast from her collection of flea-market treasures, icons from popular culture, and a profusion of delicate, handmade roses. The ambiguous narratives contain hints of misbehavior: a boy with a banjo serenades a giant rooster, a sailor boy encounters a bikini-clad siren guarding her treasure, and a pig-tailed girl with a tennis racket fights off a flock of menacing birds. In Hostile Nature, gentle woodland creatures appear in a less wholesome guise. 18th  Century decoration provides a perfect foil for Katleman’s explorations of consumption and desire.

 

Dimensions:  96″ H x 70″ W x 5″ D

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