Katja van den Enden is an experimental, abstract artist living and working just outside of Toronto, Canada. Her practice ranges from mixed media work and painting to sculpture. She has exhibited her work in public and private galleries for the past 15 years among them Gallery 1313, Orillia Museum of Art and History, Aurora Cultural Centre, Latcham Art Gallery, the McKay Art Centre, Propeller Gallery, John B. Aird Gallery and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Her work has been part of the Toronto Artist Project since 2013.
Katja grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany where she studied with several artists such as Jochen Zellmann. She considers Kelley Atkin and Hugh LeRoy her most important mentors. Katja has been an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists since 2014. She was granted an art residency at Gibraltar Point in 2018 and is a three time Exhibition Assistance Grant recipient from the Ontario Art Council (2016/ 2017/2018).
My curiosity centres on the effervescence of human interaction beyond verbal communication. I have explored this in paintings and sculptural works, through the use of processes that resemble those found in nature. Through the fusion of materials, process and concepts, I search for a visual vocabulary that expresses the intangible nature of psychology and memory.
I am fascinated with the patterns created by sedimentation, layering, abrasion, accumulation, fragmentation and cellular growth. For years I created biomorphic patterns in mixed media paintings to explore the workings of our minds using these processes as analogies to cognitive ones. Recently, my work has expanded beyond 2-dimensions to create organic sculptural forms.
One series of objects, called “Relationships”, evokes the ethereal quality of human interactions by pouring, manipulating and layering clear resin. The results are large scale, transparent reliefs that manifest themselves mainly through their shadows. The protagonists in these sculptures are cell-like shapes connected through droplets and strands that I envision as non-verbal connections. I am interested in the visual tension and confusion caused by the shadow being more substantial than the object itself. In addition, natural light causes the areas of light and shadow to change throughout the day just as relationships continuously change due to external influences
Another recurring subject in my work is memory in its different forms. In “Fragmented Memories” I investigate incomplete, edited memories through multiple layers of vibrant acrylic paint and poured resin. These objects vary greatly in size, yet all of them start as rough shapes that develop through the accretion of multiple sedimentary layers of acrylic washes and pigments. Then abrasion and cellular patterns created from drips and coats of resin eventually smooth the forms. The final works are mounted to create the illusion of floating on the wall without context.
“Accumulation”, on the other hand, is an examination of subconscious memories that the brain has deemed unimportant. Much like pebbles collect on a beach due to the action of waves, these memories naturally accumulate over time. These small sculptures are comprised of tiny clay particles gathered into amoebic shapes. I use neutral, unassuming colours to emphasize the subconscious and unexamined nature of these recollections.
My series “Scattered” looks at split attention and non-linear thinking within the creative process. Each sculpture is comprised of hundreds of thin, white, almost translucent, frayed clay pieces that I see as thoughts. These come together into one dynamic entity, or idea. I have chosen pale, white clay, as when it is worked this thinly, captures the newness and fragility of a mental concept.
My continued fascination with natural processes and psychology has recently lead me to introduce nature itself into my work by exposing my latest clay sculpture to the elements. Relinquishing control in order to expand my visual vocabulary is the next step in my effort to explore human interaction.
For more information on Katja's work, or to just say hello, feel free to get in touch.
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