Chaos meets Control in New Art Exhibit: “Slurry: Paintings by Katherine Mann”

Characterized by large watery marks and shapes, with intricate designs patterned over top and around them, Mann’s paintings are unique abstracted landscapes of organic shapes combined with recognizable patterns and objects.

The two main paintings showcased for Mann’s exhibit are Weft and Slurry, set up in the main gallery area and so large that together they effectively fill the space.

During her talk Tuesday night, Feb. 21, Mann first explained the unique process she uses to create all of her paintings and the significance of it as well as her art experience and ideas featured in her art works.

For all of her paintings, Mann starts by pouring water and ink onto paper lying on the floor.

After the water and ink evaporates, distinctive stains are left behind which Mann calls the “staining structure” that she later adds on to with complex designs and patterns.

“It’s very much about chaos and control,” Mann says. Chaos is the beginning with the unplanned, natural way water and ink interact and create marks on the paper. Control is incorporated at the end when she manipulates the space that is left by adding patterns and shapes.

“I want the viewer to feel like they can immerse themselves in these paintings,” says Mann, which she does by bringing objects of reality into her abstract landscapes.

When asked about her work Mann also says she likes it to “take over a space,” which was easy to see next to her painting Slurry. This painting, made on synthetic paper, cascaded down the wall and spilled onto the floor with an enormous amount of ribbon shapes mixed in.

The familiar ribbon was no longer recognizable as Mann explains that by “repeating something so many times, eventually it becomes foreign and almost biological.”

Many of her paintings end up expanding until they resemble an overgrowth of systems, something almost cancerous. She noted that our society and tendency towards excess probably influenced this idea.

Her Weft painting incorporates a biological look and paired with the color red, looks almost visceral. She created this painting around the time of her wedding and noted that its color is probably related, considering red is a Chinese ceremonial color of luck.

When asked where she sees her work going in the future, Mann hopes to someday get a piece to expand onto more walls and the ceiling. But for now she sees herself continuing in water-based mediums, as she still has plenty of possibilities to explore.