How did the Western landscape affect your work?
KG - I have always been interested in natural and organic forms, and how they inform constructed imagery (like wallpaper patterns for example) For many years I was influenced by Karl Blossfeldt's botanical photographs, and the beautiful circular and linear gestures these images exhibited. After some time I felt I had exhausted this line of inquiry. On a trip to southern Utah a couple years back I began to notice and appreciate that same circular and linear imagery in rock formations that had so drawn me to the Blossfeldt photographs, and I began to work from my own photographs to interpret these new images, and how they relate to constructed patterns we see and use in our daily lives.
You have talked about being inspired by the ‘beauty of things that tend to go unnoticed.’ How do you portray this in your work?
KG - Continuing my response from the previous question, one thing I was very clear about was the utter majesty of the southern Utah landscape, breathtaking in scope, depth and color, and the beauty obvious to anyone who viewed these incredible natural formations. My studio is located in north Philadelphia, a very poor, crumbling and forgotten section of the city. One day I walked to the corner store for a bottle of water, and I realized how fortunate I was to be able to straddle between these 2 disparate landscapes - the natural wonders of Utah and the grit of north Philadelphia. I began to notice things in my studio neighborhood - crumbling pink brick walls, dilapidated churches, chain link fences, a rusted, hulking El (elevated rail line) and began to see these images through a reverent lens - they represented a time long past, a history that has importance, but is fading. This new way of seeing led me to notice the same effects in nature, particularly trees that had fallen naturally and began to decay. These are all things that are generally not considered pretty or note-worthy, but for me they hold a certain serene beauty, and something to elevate to a higher level. I use these images in my work and often surround them with beautiful patterning, glitter and gold leaf to subtly reference religious iconography.