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The Visiting Artist and Scholar Program presents Kathryn Polk

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm MST

Thursday, February 15, 2024
6:00 p.m.
Interactive Learning Center, Room 118
This event is free and open to the public.

The Visiting Artist and Scholar Program at Boise State is delighted to host artist Kathryn Polk from February 12-16, 2024, with a public lecture on Thursday, February 15.

Polk will be creating a lithograph in collaboration with Boise State printmaking in the Center for the Visual Arts.

About Kathryn Polk: Polk began drawing before she could walk or talk. From that earliest age, art became the medium through which she could best express her thoughts and point of view. Growing up in a family built on the prescriptive norms of Christianity in the 1950s/60s Deep South—a time and place in which women were largely expected to be domestic caregivers and the prospect that they might aspire to anything outside that role was generally condemned—Polk’s art evolved into more than a mode of self-expression: It became the vital tool for processing the world around her and engaging that world as her most authentic self. Daily drawing in her sketchbooks became a lifelong practice and the vehicle for developing the still-expanding visual lexicon and figurative imagery for the narratives Polk continues to explore through her art, working exclusively from memory and imagination in lieu of photographs or live models. In 2002, Polk began sharing these narratives through hand-pulled prints, working in traditional stone lithography from L VIS Press (her home studio) and other printmaking studios around the world.

Polk’s lithographs can be found in permanent print collections around the world, including at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris), Sado Hangamura Museum (Sado Island, Japan), China Academy of Art (Hangzhou,China), The University of Auckland (New Zealand), Yonsei University Mirae Campus (Wonju City, South Korea), Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art (France), School of Art Museum and Galleries at Aberystwyth University (Wales), and Proyecto’ ACE (Buenos Aires, Argentina), as well as galleries in cities across the United States, including Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Denver Art Museum, University of Arizona Museum of Art (Tucson), University of California–Davis/Gorman Museum, Prints & Photographs Division/Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), California State University–Chico/Janet Turner Print Museum, Arizona State University/Jules Heller Print Study Room (Phoenix), Northwestern University/Block Museum (Evanston, Illinois), Spencer Collection/New York Public Library and Ohio State University/Kennedy Museum of Art (Athens, Ohio).

“The Hand That Feeds” (pictured above) uses references to memories from the past with representations of the present and projections of the future, drawing on an ever-expanding visual lexicon that I have developed over more than 25 years. The image was inspired by the travesties of current events: environmental destruction, the erosion of human rights, and other atrocities. The woman in the foreground faces rampant perils as she navigates the world. At the same time, the image presents the dangers in a highly symbolized form and structured, contained composition. The juxtaposition of these elements functions as a visual catharsis, simultaneously conveying both darkness and hope. With both of the central figures manifestly strong and appearing unafraid, I wanted to leave the viewer with ambiguity, challenging them to discover their own relationship to the wolf: Which of the two is more fierce? Who is ultimately in control?