Katie Hector – New Thick at RSOAA

In Dialogue with Katie Hector on RSOAA and beyond

Installation view of NEW THICK. Image courtesy of The Royal

Katie Hector is an artist, curator, and writer whose work is currently featured in New Thick at The Royal @ RSOAA . a group exhibition she has also co-curated with Barry Hazard at this dynamic venue for curatorial projects in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In this Art Spiel interview, Katie Hector elaborates on New Thick, her current show, and the premise behind the RSOAA venue.

AS: Let’s start with what brought you to RSOAA, and some info on that venue for the uninitiated.

KH: Less than a year ago I found myself sitting down at a table to meet Jason Clay Lewis, Janet Rutkowski, Amelia Biewald, and Ilona Golovina for the first time. Through word of mouth, social media, or in my case via an email from an artist friend Kylin O’Brien, we each came to know that Jason was searching for people to program The Royal Society of American Art, RSOAA, or The Royal.

At the table, Jason made clear, ‘let’s see how this goes’ and poof an artist-run-exhibition space was born.

To determine the programming Janet, Amelia, Ilona draw upon our individual studio practices for inspiration. We bring our personal perspectives to the table as we take turns programming the gallery. Although this was supposed to be a trial year the shows we’ve put together thus far really seem to connect with a larger creative community. We envision utilizing the gallery as a platform for our peers and a space to facilitate conversations.

Installation view of NEW THICK. Image courtesy of The Royal

AS: Tell me about the premise for your current group show New Thick

KH: NEW THICK is the stuff Barry Hazard and I dream of. The show contains a variety of painterly-sculptural hybrids and three-dimensional objects that hopefully pique curiosity and raise more questions than answers.

I think the show collectively represents an appreciation for processes, a formal emphasis on surface quality, and unexpected imagery. Barry, an amazing artist in his own right, started putting together the artist roster back in May. This was his first-time curating and it was really exciting for both of us to watch the show take shape over the last few months.

AS: Please tell me a bit about each artist in this show.

KH: The works in NEW THICK can be divided into a few distinct categories.

The work of Jonathan Hartshorn, Valerie Hegarty, Ming-Jer Kuo, Armita Raafat, and Kris Rac transform, reinterpret, and even poke fun at the social-political systems and hierarchies present within the charged imagery or the recognizable materials they embedded within the work. While the work of Kate Klingbeil, Erin Loree, Calli Moore, Denise Treizman, and I tend to focus on formally manipulating the surface of a canvas or substrate through additive layers of paint and colorful materials.

Although much of the work revolves around painting there are many unexpected, transformed or found materials baked into each piece. I believe these unpredictable inclusions contribute to a number of interesting cross-sections and grey areas between the works.

As wonderful as the high res images are, it’s undoubtedly even more satisfying to spend time with these works in person. They each have a lot to offer.

   Armita Raafat, Untitled, 40 x 80 x 8  inches, fabric, paper, resin, tile, and mirror. 2019.  Image courtesy of Raafat
Armita Raafat, Untitled, 40 x 80 x 8 inches, fabric, paper, resin, tile, and mirror. 2019. Image courtesy of Raafat
Kate Klingbeil, Salt of the Earth, 21 x 18 x 2.5 inches, acrylic, oil, vinyl paint, watercolor, black sand, glass beads on canvas, 2019. Image courtesy of Klingbeil and The Royal
Kris Rac, Vex, 12 x 13 inches, acrylic, shaped wood board, astroturf, plexiglass, tube LED, 2019. Image courtesy of Rac and The Royal

AS: And your work in this show?

KH: I created these shaped paintings over the summer during a weekend at the Meeting House Artist-in-Residence program. It was an amazingly productive couple of days and I was able to bring thirty-nine colorful amorphous shaped paintings with me back to Brooklyn.

I like how they work installed in clusters of three or more and each time I put them up I try to find new patterns and combinations that respond to the space.

Katie Hector, Tablets, installation dimensions variable, acrylic, spray paint, cement, and latex on MDF, 2019. Image courtesy of Hector and The Royal

AS: Can you share what curatorial projects you are working on these days?

KH: Well, I’ve found an amazing curatorial home at The Royal and we’re gearing up to host our second Open Call exhibition this Winter. The deadline is December 27th and the information on how to submit is now up on our website.

I am also preparing an application for Spring Break Art Fair, fingers crossed, and have a show slotted for April 2020 at Sweet Lorraine Gallery in Red Hook. Definitely stay tuned for all of the above.

New Thick runs through November 17th, 2019

Group exhibition curated by Barry Hazard and Katie Hector At RSOAA