“Katie Waugh is a multi-disciplinary artist working with ideas of performativity, social protocol, and aspiration. She has exhibited throughout the United States, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois
I am drawn to the subtly iconic cultural habits that shape social interaction by the very fact of their quietude, repetition, and widespread acceptance. By examining attempts to define authority, propriety and identity, my work considers the expression of these traditions Those things, whether behavioral, linguistic, or material, which lubricate the rough edges of the social machine beg examination.
Guided by the material properties each affords, I make work with video, drawing, and sculpture. Through video I mine gestures of self-presentation and social organization, exploring the ways bodies, objects, and the medium itself are used to project messages of identity and cultural legitimacy. I use appropriated video to identify the routine phrases and body language shared by many public figures, while my performative video work has further considered the ways people inhabit their bodies in the attempt to communicate or meet expectations. In an effort to understand systems of learning and communication, particularly in bodies of knowledge rife with ambiguities, I use drawings and diagrams executed in a clean, instructive style. In doing so, I expose both the brutish over-simplification and the cognitive satisfaction of organizing and symbolizing knowledge. Stretching this tactic further, I participate in and alter constructed environments using objects, sound, and projections. Ultimately, this work articulates the abstractions that occur when translating social interaction to the made world.
Through research and observation, I pry open microscopic fissures in social systems, presenting what lays inside in an effort to uncover the values, ideologies, and cultural forces that brought them about. By employing a practice akin to collage, I uncover, repeat, reassemble, and re-contextualize pivotal details of structural patterns. I find particular interest in those things that appear to exemplify the strength of their respective structures, while simultaneously indicating some level of failure or discomfort. In this failure I find release, empowerment, and sublimity.”