Katie Kahn

Kate Kahn

Associate Professor, Painting
M.F.A., Yale University
Office: Art Building 414F
Office Phone: (815) 753-0717


I started drawing on the New York Times seven years ago, after the death of my father.  These drawings represented a bare-bones, pared down expression that asked for no special tools or materials.  They were fueled by a desire to make work that was as close to pure content as possible, without embellishment, but still in a traditional form, still embodied.  The materials were newspaper, ballpoint pen, and correction fluid.  My intention was to become steeped in the act of drawing itself, and the further I ventured into this aggressive, improvised work, with its implied social and political content, the more the imagery seemed to appear of itself, on the page, to be revealed.  

The second phase of this endeavor incorporated gouache –black and white, then metallic colors, then gel pen, and engaged (and slyly manipulated) the ironic juxtaposition of news photographs and stories as they appeared in the daily newspaper.   I noticed patterns of representation in both text and image, and invented formal strategies, including layering, subtraction, and elaboration, to reveal and conceal meaning.  I floated my personal concerns over the news stories, conflating them through text selection and image enhancement and obscuration.  Still, these works were not narrative in the traditional sense, but rather freewheeling in association and meaning. 

The third group of works consists of only the Tuesday NYT Science Times section, and evolved into a collaboration with writer Terri Kapsalis who, through specific word selection operations, evolved mysterious, compelling free verse poetic texts.  We shared our individual responses to the source material only after each was completed, and have produced twenty-five of these “corroborations”. 

In all three stages of this exploration there are drawings that have been finished over time – perhaps started with fragments of drawing, painting, or text selection done earlier, abandoned, then later completed.   

However its outward form may shift, the compelling motivation for this ongoing series is to experience the uncharted territory of personal psyche/public media/mass-market representation, and the unpredictable artistic response that strings them, however loosely, together.


Selected Work

niu | school of art and design
jack arends building
dekalb, il 60115-2883