Katrina Slade is a third-generation visual artist whose work conveys the intangible and ethereal, often through the creation of organically-inspired compositions derived from mixed media elements. The tensions between these forms, the precise versus the abstract; the vibrant versus the muted, make Slade’s work all the more captivating and reflective of her international lifestyle developed after spending most of the past decade abroad.
Hailing from Oregon, Slade earned a BFA in 2010 and an MA in 2011 before setting off for Asia and Europe to pursue her professional goals. She currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada where she enjoys focusing on her art practice full time. Slade has enjoyed several solo exhibitions of her work and has participated in multiple two-person and group shows. Her work also appears in numerous international private collections, from Japan to Russia.
The title Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder refers to the connection between physical space and emotional experience through the lens of a voluntary immigrant. The bittersweet concept is familiar to me after spending the past decade living in five different countries around the world, and finally immigrating to Canada in 2018. This abstract painting series explores ideas of absence and the emotional toll on the heart, the concept of home, and inevitably, how it shapes identity. The organic quality of the compositions brings about feelings of floating, drifting, and movement. The creation of these paintings was an act of meditation during a major transitional phase as I started a new life in Canada.
The absence of colour is a conceptual choice. Although my previous work is bright and colourful, I decided upon a black and white palette to convey the obstacles of repeatedly starting over in different geographical and cultural contexts. The monochromatic paintings were created using mixed media techniques of mostly inks, acrylics, and watercolours, with some embellished accents of mica and embroidery. Absence has a strong connection to the idea of home. After living around the world in foreign countries, my heart aches for a home that is familiar to me. My nuclear family is no longer my home. Ultimately, I don’t have a home anywhere except the one that I create for myself. This has been a bittersweet lesson learned over years, with many highs and lows resulting from so much change.
Although this series is very personal to me, viewers won’t see literal expressions because of the abstract nature of the work. This series truly offers viewers the pleasure of interpreting their own meaning from the artwork, while evoking subtle emotional tones.