which knives are for the animals, which ones are for the girls? Katie Kirkpatrick

katie kirkpatrick
which knives are for the animals
which ones are for the girls?

No one sat me down and laid it out for me: the all-encompassing lens of gender.

I grew up with an innate instinct to observe, protect, and learn from my environment - volunteering at animal shelters; helping turtles cross streets; gathering berries, acorns, and rocks. I also grew up understanding that my curiosity and stewardship were considered feminine, or the sort of things girls cared about. Only in later years did I see this association's true extent. In witnessing ubiquitous violence against women, discussing habitual harassment with my female peers, and experiencing sexual trauma, I came to understand in a new light my strong connection to the environment and my urge to protect it. I feel how structures of sexism, colonialism, and industrialization uphold aggressive masculinity and domination over women and nature. The voice of our natural world, as with the voices of so many women and feminine persons, is systematically silenced, ignored, and misconstrued.

In my practice, I let the work choose the medium. I generally work on larger scales, with each piece declaring its own identity and substance beyond the physical. I explore the history of painted female bodies and sculpted biological forms. Some of my pieces are carefully constructed through hours of research and trial and error, while others are urgently an passionately thrown together in a matter of moments. Sometimes I study art like a science, sometimes I consume it like a meal, and sometimes I confront it like a fight. Environmental and political justice topics should be explored through diverse approaches, as we all digest them differently. My practice highlights the interrelatedness and evolution of the feminine experience, drawing connections between typically distinct ideas. It is a cathartic collision of my internal conflicts and external circumstances through my perspective a a woman, providing spaces for contemporary discussions about historically ever-present structures.

Painting by Katie Kirkpatrick

Close up of painting with mixed media by Katie Kirkpatrick

close up of painting with mixed media by Katie Kirkpatrick

Painting by Katie Kirkpatrick

'Sacrifice' (2022) ink drawing by Katie Kirkpatrick


VADA Senior Exhibition 2023 main page