Echo | Katherine Lampert

Medium: Screenprint
Year: 2020
Edition size: 16
Dimensions: 18″ x 18″
Published Spudnik Press Cooperative
Inscriptions: Edition Number (left back), Signature (right back)
Produced in collaboration with Brian Baxter (composer)

Ten x Ten is a collaboration between visual artists and musicians exploring visual and auditory interaction. By challenging artists to conceptualize their work across media, Ten x Ten asks participants to stretch and expand their creative process. Through producing a limited edition compilation and public presentation of the resulting artworks, Ten x Ten documents, celebrates, and promotes Chicago’s artistic community.

I grew up visiting my grandparents in rural Michigan, where today, there are still dirt roads, fields of wild flowers and a sky so dark, you can really see the stars.  I still visit my parents there, and during this horrible pandemic, it has been a blessing to see my five-year-old – who lives in our city apartment – run free, grow a garden, watch bees pollinate the sunflowers and dash outside at night to see if the moon is a crescent or full.

Science has proved that being in nature reduces anger, fear and stress, and boosts our overall health. Yet, our experience of nature is becoming increasingly less direct. Man’s destruction of the environment and urbanization have made nature feel compartmentalized to me – somewhere to go on an outing — and for many, difficult to access at all. Add to that: Real human interaction is now often mediated by technology – a digital screen inserted between us and the physical world. During the pandemic, this issue has come into sharper focus. Ironically, the digitization that limited personal contact in the past, facilitates much of our safe communication today. Now, I think that being outdoors at a distance, safe in nature, is more than ever a much-needed salve to our jittery psyches. In my work, I sort through these ideas, while in my life, I am constantly in search of a more authentic analog experience.

The baculites fossil that my silkscreen piece is based on is is all that remains of a sea creature that went extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs, about 65 million years ago. The fossil has a lace-like pattern that is formed by the sutures that were in this animal’s exoskeleton. Baculites started out very tiny and had to grow quickly to protect themselves from predators, building new chambers on their shell as they grew. The contour patterns, which mark the different chambers, are not only beautiful but remind me of both the physicality and fragility of life.

Katherine Lampert is an artist and teacher based in South Haven, Michigan and Chicago. Her studio work considers texture, color, entropy, and the evolving relationship between nature and technology. Her multi-layered painting process often begins with a photographic study of pattern in nature, such as a cloudscape, the lace-like remnants of a two hundred million-year-old fossilized sea creature, or the unusual markings on a rare tropical insect. These images serve as inspiration and a point of departure for her semi-abstract works.