Kate Rhoades: Karen
June 25 – September 3, 2017
Opening Reception Sunday, June 25
Members Preview: 1 – 2 PM
Public Reception: 2 – 4 PM
In her video Karen, Oakland-based artist Kate Rhoades focuses her attention on the Junk Lady, the memorable supporting character in Jim Henson’s 1986 cult classic film Labryinth. The Junk Lady appears as a surly woman who obsessively collects rejected furniture, pots, pans, and children’s toys on her back. She lives in the “Junk Fields” amongst other “Junk People.” But one wonders, how did she get there? According to Rhoades, she was Karen, who, in an attempt to search for her lost father, becomes disoriented as she tries to escape the vast fields of discarded objects.
Rhoades created this video during her recent artist residency at Recology (also known as the “dump”), San Francisco’s solid waste and recycling center. While there, she sourced all the material for her video. She transformed trash into embellished puppets and designed elaborate sets using heaps of books, unwanted ladders, Christmas ornaments, and various textiles. Karen illustrates a complicated world where the viewer discovers the Junk Lady’s early life. Further, it constellates tales of family relationships, personal and career goals, and obsession over material goods. The ICA is the first venue to screen Karen outside the Recology Artist-in-Residence context.
Born in Monclova, Ohio, Rhoades currently lives and works in Oakland. Her art practice varies in media from comic books and publications, to paintings and performances. Through these media, her work comments on the facets of the ever-changing art world. Humor is the marker for Rhoades’ art and is often juxtaposed with her interest in theory. “Over-acting, cheesy special effects, slapstick, and childish humor are used in contrast with the seriousness of the worlds. Through the use of fantasies and alternative realities I explore different roles, act out fears and anxieties, and in showing their absurdity, I might diminish their power over me, and perhaps over the viewer,” she explains.
Kate Rhoades received her MFA from Mills College in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Oakland’s Burnt Oak Gallery and the Recology Artist Residency Program in San Francisco. Her videos have been presented at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Santa Fe International New Media Festival. She has participated in exhibitions at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, Southern Exposure in San Francisco, and the di Rosa Preserve in Napa, in addition to presenting her work in various publications, hotel rooms and alleyways across North America and Europe.
Kate Rhoades: Karen is supported in part by ICA Members