Texas based artist finds beauty in the mundane

Northern Irish contemporary artist Katrina Moorhead has steadily made her way in the art world since she graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art. Katrina received a BA in Art and Art History and MFA in Sculpture in the mid-90s. She was born in Coleraine in 971 and now lives and works in Houston, Texas.

Katrina’s art is a deep reflection of her love for finding and producing materials and objects examples in which human sentiments are blended with scientific facts, places where our mutable emotions overlay onto ‘fixed’ science. Her works also use a variety of materials and objects which are brought together to offer new poetic, associations with a focus on the ordinary.

Katrina has been hugely successful and been awarded many residencies. Her first residency was from 1996 to 1998 for the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. In 1998 she received the Eliza Randall Prize for the Core Artist-In-Residence Program also at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The successful Irish artist has received recognition for her work in many books and publications such as Art in America, Artforum and Sculpture Magazine. She has won an impressive number of awards such as the General Arts Award in association with the Arts Council for Northern Ireland in 2001 and again in 2005. Katrina was shortlisted for the Irish American Arts Awards in New York the previous year.

The artist has been involved with group exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the 51st Venice Biennial, Italy and The Vardy Gallery, University of Sunderland. Katrina has participated in both solo and group exhibitions since the mid-90s. She held her own exhibition at the Lynn Goode Gallery in 1998, a solo exhibition called ‘Stutter’ at the Blue Star Art Space in San Antonio in 2000 and was included in the exhibition ‘Low-Slung Clouds’ in Tokyo, Japan.

Katrina also won the prestigious Arthouse Texas Prize in 2007. The $30.000 prize is one of the largest regional art awards in the United States She was awarded the Artadia Award and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for Painters and Sculptors both in 2008. In an article on artforum.com, they referred to the talented artist as ‘an exceptional and innovative talent and recognizes her contribution to the Texas art scene.’

The Texas based creative currently has a number of fine art pieces on sale at the Inman Gallery in Texas. Again, it is clear, that Katrina takes her inspiration from ordinary, everyday objects as this collection includes a canvas drawing of stones, a sculpture of a tree and a beautiful yet frightening depiction of a bomb blast. Katrina is represented by Inman Gallery at the moment.

Katrina’s artwork has been exhibited widely in Houston, London, New York, Dublin, Seattle, Tokyo, Glasgow, Zurich etc. In 2005 her work was included in an exhibition titled The Nature of Things, as Northern Ireland’s inaugural participation at the 51st Venice Biennale. and in the International Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (2009). Other exhibitions include ‘Sparkle’, 2006, Gallery Side 2, Tokyo, ‘A Thing Called Early Blur’, (solo) 2007, Blaffer Museum, Houston, The Luxury of Dirt’, 2011 Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich, Switzerland and’ seapinksea’, (solo) 2019, Inman Gallery Houston. According to Inman Gallery, “Sea pink is a hardy, low-slung perennial native to the UK coastline. It was a fixture of Katrina Moorhead’s early life, and serves as a point of departure for her current exhibition, seapinksea.”

The Houston based artist has not shied away from creating work in a pandemic either and held a virtual group exhibition called ‘Animal Crossing’ in 2020. Katrina also works on her own installations. One such example is ‘Barometer’ which is a carved floatable pumice boulder in a pattern with copper leaf. It was inspired by the medieval ‘hunger stones’, hydrological features, which are normally unseen rocks on the floor and banks of the River Elbe in the Czech Republic and Germany, which only appear when the water recedes as a result of extreme drought. Witnessed in summer 2018 for the first time in 400 years, the stones are inscribed by unfortunate famine victims from centuries ago with ominous messages like “If you see me, weep” and “When this stone sinks, life will become more colourful again”.

In recent years all of Katrina’s artworks have been exhibited at Inman Gallery such as ‘The Bird That Never Lands'cape’ in 2013 and ‘The Stars and Us’ in 2016. Inman Gallery has commented on Katrina’s ‘The Stars and Us’ exhibition. “Katrina Moorhead’s relationship to her materials is both palpably physical and curiously cerebral: while there’s clear sensory pleasure in the way she manipulates copper or super-dark carbon nanotubes – sometimes as actual matter, sometimes just as an idea – the substances are also freighted with social, historical and emotional associations.”

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