katie [at] katiewaugh [dot] com

My practice is defined by fairly distinct periods of fixation on a single image-idea, which I investigate, dissect, and reconstruct. Process, repetition, and materiality serve as strategies through which I try to tease apart (and then sometimes reassemble) the tightly wound construction of seemingly ubiquitous image tropes. Regardless of medium or subject, I routinely pick apart highly ordered systems (i.e. a well- composed image, heavily symbolic icon, or piece of music), scrutinizing each smaller element to understand its validity and its relationship to the whole.

Video loops, pleated folds, fragmented images, and waves invoke the continuous push-and-pull between nodes within a network, calling to mind a perpetual state of anxious expectation, uneasy desire, and endlessness. It follows, then, that any interruption of these repetition structures by an instance of singular spectacle or unyielding rigidity signals a sense of upheaval. Often employing a practice akin to collage, I uncover, repeat, reassemble, and re-contextualize pivotal details of structural patterns. I find particular interest in those things that appear to exemplify the strength of their respective structures, while simultaneously indicating some level of breakdown or failure. The breakdown creates infinite possibility.

My recent photography and video work questions the perceived representational autonomy of the photographic image, rooting the photograph in a distinctly material immediacy. I frequently use the tactic of re-photographing photographic works I’ve physically manipulated. I indulged my skepticism of the representational image through recent work exploring the widespread mobilization of those photographs attempting to document the Romantic Sublime, particularly those used as icons of social privilege or indices of exoticized personal experiences. The Romantic Sublime Photograph asserts the photographer’s presence in an often privileged spatial relationship with a sought-after view while relying on a set of centuries-old visual and philosophical ideals for its validation. As a result it enjoys a certain sense of inevitable popularity, acting as a guideline for demonstrating appreciation of visual phenomena. I’m fascinated by the seeming ubiquity of this condition, and am curious about how this aspect of visual culture defines our aspirations for visual experience.