‘Interconnected Landscape’ Exhibition at WT Reflects on Peaks, Valleys of Life and Region

by Chip Chandler

CANYON, Texas — On her commute between Canyon and Guymon, Oklahoma, Katy George found unexpected inspiration in the rolls and folds of the Texas Panhandle landscape.

It reminded her of bedsheets, of all things.

“Bedsheets are objects of real meaning and human significance. They wrap us up in our most vulnerable moments when we are unconscious and asleep. They represent protection, cleanliness and domesticity,” George said. “But they can also represent fear-based memories and trauma, such as when one is confined to a bed with debilitating depression, or bedridden in a hospital struggling with illness. Bedsheets, with their malleable fabric that can be formed into peaks and valleys, folds and creases, mimic both landscapes and human bodies in interesting ways.”

Now, George, the art program director at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, is using that inspiration in works on view in “This Interconnected Landscape,” her thesis exhibition for her Master of Fine Arts degree at West Texas A&M University.

The exhibition will hang Oct. 5 to 28 in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery in Mary Moody Northen Hall. An opening reception is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 5.

George manipulated and sculpted bedsheets, then used that as a reference for drawings and paintings.

“For me, this material serves as a powerful tool for communicating my own feelings of comfort, home, security and belonging, while simultaneously providing a reference to the geographic landforms that also designate my home,” George said.

The resulting exhibition will envelop the Fitz Gallery, said Jon Revett, WT art program director and Doris Alexander Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts.

“Katy’s work explores the connection between landscape and emotion,” Revett said. “The landscape becomes an emotional catharsis for her. It does not represent emotion but helps her process them, and her drives through the landscape become meditative and calming because it is visually associate with the safety of her bed sheets.”

Finishing her graduate degree at WT has offered George “immeasurable growth.”

“Finishing my MFA at WT has been a difficult but rewarding journey of personal and professional growth as an artist, an educator, and a person. It has helped me to take a more multidisciplinary approach and create meaningful, research-based art, which has provided me with a more profound understanding of my work and its context within a broader scope,” George said. “As a single mother, teaching full-time, and working to complete my master’s degree has presented many challenges over the past two years. I have been blessed to have such caring and extremely talented professors who have pushed me to persevere.”

Fitz Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and by appointment Fridays and Saturdays. Email jrevett@wtamu.edu .

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