PRESS RELEASE - 2/24/2021
Katie DeGroot on Seeing Personality in the Trees
HUDSON – Katie DeGroot was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan – an environment most similar to that of New Mexico. And, while she left there as an infant, maybe, on some subliminal level, that’s why she paints trees – almost exclusively.
“I live on a farm upstate,” she explains. “I used to walk my dog in the woods and began to notice these sticks with mushrooms on them. I was amazed at the amount of pattern and texture they had and started collecting them. Eventually, I began painting them – treating them as portraits. As time went by, I’d look for the quirkier sticks, ones with more gestures – I saw them as more anthropomorphic.”
But there is more to it than that. DeGroot filters her ‘portraits’ through a surreal prism. “I grew to like the incongruous and fantastic imagery through my exposure to some artists in Chicago,” she explains. “I liked the idea that, in a painting, an artist can mess with you. They can create a fake world. It’s conventional when you first look at it, but the more you look, the more it isn’t.” She specifically names The Hairy Who, a group of 6 artists who came to prominence during the 60s. Extremely acidic color choices, jazzy and psychedelic patterns and an adolescent sense of humor were highlights.
Art Among the Goods features works by specially selected artists that are interspersed with the inventory at the store Henry, an antiques shop at 348 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. Owner Nancy Shaver, herself an artist, finds excitement in juxtaposing the work of her colleagues with artifacts from earlier times. It also, frequently, reflects how a private dwelling incorporates old and new.
And, speaking of - - The two have been friends for over 40 years, first meeting when both were struggling artists working at a coffee shop in New York’s newly formed neighborhood, Soho. After losing touch, they were reunited through DeGroot’s affiliation with Steve Isoz, owner of Hudson’s Gallery Gris. “I was mounting a show there,” DeGroot explains. “Steve mentioned Nancy’s shop and how I should see it. I thought, ‘wait a minute,’ can that be the Nancy Shaver?” And the rest is [recent] history.
DeGroot, Director of Skidmore’s Summer Studio Art Program and a resident of Fort Edward, NY, spends the remainder of the year painting. “We live on a farm, have a garden and live inexpensively. I’m much happier being in my studio making art than shopping. Although,” she laughs, “there is plenty at Nancy’s shop that I’d like to buy.”
“I’ve always liked pattern and decoration and color,” DeGroot says. “When Nancy offered me this collaboration, I was flattered. Her store is heaped with pattern. I’m looking forward to this show. I made sure to pick work that would have conversations with the objects in Henry.”
Katie DeGroot’s work will be on display through Saturday, April 10th. Store hours are Friday and Saturday - noon until 6PM. Sunday 11AM – 4PM. HENRY is located at 348 Warren Street, Hudson. For more information, call 518.828.2354. Both artists will also be included in a show beginning April 2nd in New York City at Markel Fine Arts, 529 West 20th.