Controlled Chaos at its Finest

When you think of art, you quickly think of the DaVinci’s and the Michaelangelo’s of the world. As an industry, art is typically a male-dominated sector, but Kate Gilmore proves to disband this theory with her physical strength and unorthodox artwork.

Rather than stick to a typical medium of art, Gilmore uses sculpture, video, installation and performance together to relay her message onto an audience. Her artwork is riddled with obstacles and hardships that test her strength and capability incredibly so. “The weight is about forcing the body to have to deal with something that’s uncomfortable and difficult,” said Gilmore to a group of students, staff and community members at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery’s Artist Talk.

The Gallery, located at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, is host to different artists wanting to display their work. From Sept. 6 through Oct. 18, 2014, it welcomes Kate Gilmore and her latest exhibition piece, Top Drawer.

On Sept. 15, there was an Artist Talk where Gilmore had the chance to speak to everyone about her inspirations, struggles and successes for all her artwork, both past and present.

Her latest installation, Top Drawer, was the focal point of her talk. Students asked about her usage of color, weight and methods for making her video artwork, as well as her reasons to do so.

“I use color as a way to make people comfortable so they can see the beauty in it,” said Gilmore, when an audience member asked why she used such bright colors against bland objects.

“It was definitely an interesting approach,” said Vincent Rotondo, a senior at Stony Brook University. Although he was there as a requirement for his Art History class, Rotondo enjoyed Gilmore’s take on art. “It’s taking very visual and literal constructions to represent a bigger picture, which I really like and is utilized well,” he said.

What intrigued most people’s interest about her work was her choice of clothing in the video. For Top Drawer, Gilmore carried heavy plaster cubes into the different drawers of this giant bureau, causing red paint to drip down the doors and onto her body, all while wearing a very feminine dress and flat slippers.

“It’s my representation of a generic woman, not too sexed up, struggling to make it in an industry that has, in a way, denied her so many times because of her gender,” said Gilmore. In other videos, she dons a simple dress with a pair of high heels.

Katelyn Erdmann, a senior at Stony Brook University with a major in art history, felt that Gilmore’s art “shows that women can be powerful.” The video, which was shot in one take and shown whether it failed or succeeded, was devoid of all noise besides the natural sounds of plaster being thrown on wood and Gilmore’s huffs and puffs as she grappled with her task at hand. “It was a very physical process,” said Gilmore as she explained how the cubes were heavier than she had accepted.

Despite a minor injury to her finger, which has healed just fine, Gilmore was happy with the outcome of her latest video installation. “I use color and humor in a similar way and I’m very aware of what’s going to pop on camera,” she said. “I don’t really know how I’m going to do it going in, I just assume I can do it, and then I go into this bulldog mode and just think ‘goal.’”

Gilmore’s art is definitely a work of “controlled chaos,” as she rightfully said so. Although you may have missed her talk, the gallery is still presenting her work. Also, on Sept. 27, she will be doing a mysterious live performance, with the help of four Stony Brook University women. It will be from 6-8pm at the Zuccaire Gallery in Staller Center.

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