I make art because I have to. I make art because for the past seventeen years people have responded positively to the work. I have been an artist since a very early age and have pursued that dream ever since. I started off at around the age of nine as a ballet dancer. I studied dance, seriously, until I was eighteen. It taught me expression, movement, timing, intuition and discipline. At the same time I was starting to paint and draw in school. Both art and dance have always been with me. I make art because I’m a performer.
My art is a representation of a performance that is not viewed live or all at once. There are many, many stops and starts with segments that vary in length.
What inspires me to make this art is the satisfaction and sense of closure I get when it is complete, the enjoyment I have during the process of making each piece, and knowing that I have contributed something to the world. There are many other things and ideas that inspired me when I was developing this style. Some of them are Taoism, racing, driving, dancing, philosophy, mathematics, history and art history.
Beyond all influences there is compulsion. I have a strong need to make meditative color field drawings. I record time through a simple yet complex mark making style. I delineate space. I, slowly, accumulate lines in a weaving pattern/non-pattern across an area of paper. Pattern/non-pattern means there is a subtle variation in the direction of each unique line. Yet it is the same signature mark repeated over again and again. A sort of script occurs while “writing”. Each “sentence” is a few inches long. The “sentences” start from different points and crisscross creating a rhythmic and consistent net which grows to the borders I have established along the periphery of the paper. I am using different ink pigments for each area of color. Compositions may include stripes, shapes or two colors fading into one another. The result of these static color field drawings is a calming quality. What I produce is beautiful, mysterious, and monumental.
“In the large-scale drawings of Katie Sehr, extreme conglomerations of the tiniest, repetitive gestures cluster together to create a unique and unexpected universe. Sehr’s intricately patterned works are deceptively simple. There is an undeniable manic-obsessive process behind her freehand drawings, realized without the aid of a prototype or stencil. Coupled with the sheer volume of drawing activity before us, this obsessive act is an unerring ode to commitment and artistic persistence – to hold fast to a methodology and see it through to its logical and unanticipated conclusion. The works also double as per formative documents, clear evidence of a relentless, artistic drama, which is not merely the final realization of a complicated drawing but also an exploration of the implications of such an intense process. Depending on the color, the works can appear serene or bustling with internal energy. If a pale ink languidly pulls us into a placid visual field, a more vibrant ink yanks us in and bounces us around. Meanwhile, the overall effect of the work is illusory at times, confounding the eye with the simple, delirious visual pleasure derived from unexpected effects.” -Ellen Ryan, former Director of The Carnegie Arts Center
These drawings take time and are all produced by hand. I live with these drawings and I raise these drawings. They are like my children and I love them. They are a result of hours and hours of labor. I am proud of these accomplishments and I look forward to producing even larger, more complex drawings in the future.
Photo by Lukia Costello