2016 Charcoal and graphite on paper Dimensions variable Courtesy of Katrina Bello
Katrina Bello is an artist whose paintings and drawings are about a search for analogies between the natural world and the human condition. Rocks, trees, grasses and puddles are some of the imagery that are predominant in her works. She started drawing and painting at the age of seven in her hometown of Davao City, where she was born and raised, and at age eleven started making her own charcoal medium from coconut shells and driftwood found on the black sand beach near her home. Her first drawing surfaces were rough uneven concrete perimeter walls that mark, bound and secure property lines—a residential standard in her hometown and many other cities in the Philippines. Lately she has been working with video and installation to animate this imagery and to bring into focus nature’s otherness and sameness with the human world. Her work has been exhibited in the Philippines and the United States, and she works in Quezon City, Philippines, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Newark and Montclair in New Jersey. Bello recently founded North Willow, where she is director and collaborator. It is an artist-run attic space in Montclair, New Jersey, and it is founded on the idea of skill-sharing between visual artists to make a happening.
My drawings, painting, installation, and videos of landscapes and natural phenomena are based on memories and close observations of things seen in my hikes in forests, beaches, deserts, salt marshes, and wildlife refuges. Weeds, fallen or dying trees, tree bark, dried leaves, swamp plants, rocks, mushrooms and spider webs, and other common things found in these natural environments become the imagery that find their way to my work. I’m interested in the idea that the most ordinary things carry extraordinary potential when translated into still and moving images, and how even the most minute and lightest forms of representing them can carry the weight of the whole thing being represented. All in all, I see the work as visual analogies of our relationship with the natural world, with references to topics about the human condition such as growth, decay, chaos and rebirth.
- Born: Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines
- Based: Montclair, NJ, USA
- Also Based in: Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines