The work is material based using snow, ice, and water. The Snow Cities are simulated cities constructed of snow and ice using plastic packaging containers as molds. All the cities are constructed for the purpose of being photographed and printed as large format digital prints. Vivid color is used to lure the viewer in to confront these fragile cities. The Cities reference the identifiable play that children engage in when building sand castles and cities to understand the world around them.
Humans are compelled to build and create. With unparalleled accomplishments and wealth comes hubris and resistance to change. The Snow Cities are located along the water’s edge and are melting and slipping away. At the same time the water continues to reflect the grandeur of the city. We look at the world around us and it appears stable and at the same time changes are happening that we cannot fully comprehend. The Snow Cities are constantly changing, some parts melting and others being rebuilt, but a tipping point will be reached where the repairs can’t
keep pace with the destruction. There is a science fiction quality to the snow structures, reflecting the way many relate to climate change. It is easier to dismiss the scientific evidence as a dystopian fantasy than confront the overwhelming evidence.
The scale of objects in the prints is ambiguous and theatrical. The disposable packaging is a reference to an unsustainable use of resources. The prints are tiled photographs that began as a means of creating large format prints. It became a means of introducing a more natural visual experience to the photography. The image goes in and out of focus throughout the print, reflecting subtle points of interest, and the angle alignments of objects are more relaxed. There is a postproduction clarification of space that comes from painting and drawing.
The materials in the prints denote the different states of water. They connote a fragile environment in rapid change. The properties of water, ice and snow are hard facts that are not open negotiation. When the snow structures reach 33 degrees they vanish rapidly.
Kathryn Vajda was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University in Bloomington.
Most recently a print was part of a group show of Alfred Alumni and Faculty at the Southern Graphics Conference in Portland, Oregon. The Snow City series was shown as part of "Configuration recent work by Kathryn Vajda and Bryan Hopkins" at INDIGO art in Buffalo, NY. Individual prints were part of the "Variantology'", exhibit in the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University.
She has exhibited in shows in China “Global Fold: 43 degrees Latitude,” Jilin University, Changchun, (2013), “Insatiable Streams”, Beijing Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, and PS1 Queens, NY, (2007) and “Open Source/ Digital Media Arts: Artists from The Institute for Electronic Arts”, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, (2003). The Southern Graphics Conference, Philadelphia, PA, (2010). She has exhibited and taught at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO, (2002). She also exhibited in Babylon Lexicon, Goldring Riverview Gallery of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA (2007) and Positive Negative, Slocumb Galleries, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN (2001). She was a participant in the Cleveland Institute of Art Invitational Exhibit 1999 held at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland OH. She also has taken part in the 59th (2015), 62nd (2011), 63rd (2009), and 65th (2003) Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition at Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY.
Her work and techniques in manipulating layers in Adobe Photoshop were cited in "Exploring Color Photography From Film to Pixels" fifth edition by Robert Hirsch, Focal Press (2011). Other publications include "Insatiable Streams", Beijing Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China (2007) and "Open Source/Digital Media Arts:Artists from the Institute for Electronic Arts". Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China (2003).
She is currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
For more on Kathryn Vajda, visit her website here.