Visuals / Interview
Snug Succour
Katie Eraser
Words by Shelby De Fazio
Thursday 1st February, 2018

Australian, contemporary artist Katie Eraser is set to showcase her highly anticipated second solo-show titled Snug Succour at Besser Space in Collingwood.
Katie’s bold and untamed works explore themes of perfection and destruction, challenging a societal obsession with an illusionary sense of perfection. The self-taught Melbourne based artists’ work has a vibrant, textural nature, one proven immensely engaging and popular over an exceptional 12 months of work. Katie was a part of two major group shows and an art-fair as well as her first (and notably) sell-out solo exhibition Perfection isn’t beautiful, Destruction is beautiful which was held at Boom Gallery, April of last year.

Following a break through 2017, Katie is set to unveil her second solo-show which features 30 major works! While the exhibition showcases a range of dynamic pieces, undoubtedly “a journey through the familiar,” it also sees Katie explore “the fresh terrain of a new media”. Snug Succour demonstrates how Katie’s distinctive practice carries across painted works and sculptured clusters, in turn, informing a new direction through larger textile pieces. Her dialogue of form and colour carries across to a “freshly simplified and deliberate use of line and texture”, the product - a clever and bold “interplay between shape, colour and line.

Snug Succour challenges the notions of socially constructed ostracism and the consequential human experience of self-imposed seclusion. Katie asks “If we are bound to reveal ourselves in darkness, and don a mask to perform in light, can you blame people for reaching towards chemical comfort?” She does so nodding towards notions of comfort within the home environment and transforming them into “radiant expressions of abstraction”. As the works have been refined and simplified they become unrecognisable from their original inspirations, lifting them from their perceived depths of isolation.

Evident in the imagery used to capture her textiles, Katie explains how her “practice has developed into new mediums, specifically textile works, as a deliberate act to extend their practice and visual language beyond the rigidity of wood and solid forms.” In doing so she intends to create a “space filled with opposing textures and variance, both soft and hard, [replaying] key focuses of emotions intersecting with environment.” Her energetic and abstract characteristic style transcends to an emotive, human experience celebrated through contrasting, vibrant colours and energetic form.

Katie’s collection of works offers a sense of resolution and realisation as she explains “If we each aspire to feel safety, security and comfort {Snug} in and outside of our darkest moments, and recognise this as a human need we should all be afforded, maybe we can find more time to support, care and aid {Succor} each other. Possibly then we can be free of chemical comforts.”

Perfection isn’t beautiful, Destruction is beautiful and Snug Succour both explore quite intimate themes of self awareness and our place within society. You seem to approach your works either through empathetic points of observation or through personal experience and your explorations always seem to offer somewhat of a resolution to these challenges. How do you find this process of exploration through your art?

The process of making work for me is therapy, I can be really dramatic and say I make things so I don't perish. Especially relevant when we are talking about the lead up and creation of this show. When I speak about themes of isolation and self-imposed ostracism, it is intimate and it is personal, because I have to have strong emotions dominate in order to make the work. These don't always have to be 'positive' emotions, often I am compelled to paint in times of darkness, because creating an output of any kind is preferable to being idle. Always better moving than standing still and all that jazz. Resolution is such a loaded word, it's pretty joyful and hopeful really, which is where I recognise this body of work ended up, which makes me feel really centred and content. I love that hindsight enables me to look back and see where I started this and where it's ended up. Some 'endings' aren't finite, it's important to realise that the process of resolving burden is an ongoing flow of experiences, and if I can stay afloat and bob along with the current, I can always find some way of creating.

Snug Succour sees you broaden your direction and experiment with new mediums. Being a self taught artist are you always seeking to challenge yourself? How important do you think is it to establish a signature sense of visual style and just as important to break people’s expectations?

I was discussing this conundrum yesterday, I can't ever imagine a time when I stop pushing and challenging myself to broaden my practice and the mediums I employ. At the same time I have to mention that I am afforded this freedom because I am an early career artist. I'm still exploring possibilities, and hope to never stop, but pressures change when you establish yourself and people begin to 'expect' a similar output from you. Exceeding peoples expectations is still something I am aiming for right now. I think being self-taught fills you with this sense of agency to explore and maybe a touch of un-hinged audacity to dive in blind, in a sense. Sculpture which was brand new to my practice last year, something I had never tried to do before, until I told Boom Gallery that it would be apart of my show. I didn't have a choice but to figure it out, I didn't give myself an option to fail really, I had to make the work. The same thing goes for creating textile works for my new show, never done it before, promised the gallery it would be in the show, so went and figured it out. It is pretty thrilling to know that there are so many different ways to express an art practice, so many mediums I can mould my visual style onto - who knows where it will head.

Following a very busy 2017 and now running straight out of the gate in 2018 with a solo exhibition what can we expect this year? Are there any dream collabs or people you’d love to exhibit alongside?

Indeed life is always very busy busy, I prefer it frantic, so in keeping with the theme, a lot is on the boil for 2018. I have another solo show in Melbourne in November to start planning, and will be showing some work in a gallery on the Gold Coast, which will be my first outing in QLD. After an email I received this morning (eeek!) I will be working with a dream collab partner to show some work with them, alongside some of my biggest art crushes. The last week has been wild, so more of that, more painting and creating. Collaboration is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, but I'm all about it, I have made work in tandem with other artists in the past, and have a million ideas for projects in the future, I just need to keep putting the positive energy in, and staying open to energies around me.

Snug Succour opens February 2nd at Besser Space
15-25 Keele St, Collingwood VIC 3066
All featured images taken by Kristoffer Paulsen