Chattanooga, TN | Sculpture, Mixed Media, Time-based, Performance, Installation, Video
Katie Hargrave (b. 1985 Chicago, resides Chattanooga, TN) is interested in the production of American identity through politics, history, mythology, and narrative. Her work elevates stories from popular culture, those hidden in the archives, and the everyday conversations from passerby’s and participants. Hargrave is a professor of art at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. She received her MFA in Intermedia and Drawing from the University of Iowa, MA from Brandeis University, and BFA from the University of Illinois. Her work has been shown at Proof Gallery in Boston; Gallerie Analix in Geneva, Switzerland; the Manifesta Biennial in Murcia, Spain; The Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, to name a few.
As an artist, I am interested in a poetic and quiet activism that can exist within the history and politics of life in the United States. Each day the decisions, thoughts and actions we make accrue meaning. It is rarely evident and often hard to imagine, but these tiny moments that fill up our past collectively create our current realities. Using archival and community-sourced research, I make artworks that ideally allow the audience to see themselves as shapers of systems as broad as the environment, the historical record, American political thought. We all have power; we all own this history.
I create physical and metaphorical platforms in my installations—from newspapers to dinner tables to stages for participation. My process begins with a story, a site, or a question; develops with visits to local libraries, county fairs, and historical sites; and is complicated by interviewing locals and questioning so-called experts. The outcome of my research varies in every project, including fiber, performance, printed matter, installation, sound, and video. Regardless of the media I use, I ask viewers to write their part of the story rather than simply observing. I invite them to become performers having conversations at dinner parties, waving flags, playing games, or planting a tree. Together, we can complicate and unpack the narratives of everyday life and begin to realize that the construction of history is made up of precious fragments that can be reordered in any way we like.