Katrina Bello: 40,000 Tons
Wednesday, February 1 – Wednesday, February 28, 2023
Artist’s Talk: Wednesday, February 1, 5-6 pm
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 1, 6-8pm
The Mueller Gallery at Caldwell University is pleased to present Katrina Bello: 40,000 Tons
“Touch is the sensory mode that integrates our experience of the world… my body remembers who I am and I am located in the world. My body is truly the navel of my world not in the sense of the viewing point of the central perspective, but as the very locus of reference, memory, imagination, and integration.”
~ Juhani Pallasmaa (Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, p.11)
As a visual artist who uses drawing to make imagined landscapes and still lifes that refer to our complex relationship to our natural surroundings, Bello refers this quote by Pallasmaa in her artist’s statement because touch is an integral part of her work. Bello states “In my drawings I mostly use my fingers and palms to directly apply crushed charcoal and pastel medium on the paper. The objects that are referred to in my works – rocks, tree bark, and water- are things that I have physically held, collected, and immersed myself in several times throughout the years. And in the videos included in the exhibition, images of my hands and my children’s hands are featured holding and carrying objects and moments.”
In her statement, Bello reveals that the title of the exhibition 40,000 Tons is a reference to the volume of cosmic dust that falls on planet Earth annually according to some articles published in 2015 by planetary scientists. Bello writes “in addition to counting on photography, botany and research in Earth sciences as source material for my work, in the last three years I began looking into astronomy and astrogeology and especially at images sourced from NASA land and space-based observatories. This research eventually led to an interest in abiogenesis, the theory of the genesis of Earth.”
This cosmic dust became, for Bello, a metaphor for her process of working with crushed pastel powder on paper. Bello utilizes this medium to be a focused and tactile way of representing the patterns and forms found in tree bark. rocks and ocean waters. She also uses scale – making work that measure 5 by 8 inches or 5 by 8 feet – to create, for the viewer, either a sense of monumentality or intimacy in relation to the landscape.
When in the studio, questions about Bello’s place, effect, and purpose in the natural world occupy her thoughts. These questions come from her experience of migrating from coastal environments in the Philippines that have undergone dramatic change and where some parts no longer exist.
Katrina Bello is a visual artist whose work is informed by observations and experiences of natural environments encountered during the course of migration. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and the Philippines, and has been awarded fellowships and residencies in the United States. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Recently, she received a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship for a residency at Millay Arts. She is an upcoming artist-in-residence at the Tusen Takk Foundation in Leland, MI and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM. Katrina received a BFA from the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University and a MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Katrina is the founder of North Willow, an informal artist-run space that is dedicated to site-specific installation art. She lives and works in Montclair, NJ.