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Catya Plate
Brooklyn, NY

Peeper Seeker
(Clothespin Freaks Portrait Gallery series) Media: Fabric, thread, polyester fiber
9" x 8" x 1"


Clothespin Tarot
(Clothespin Tarot artist book open to page 23, Devil. Corresponding card laying against open book alongside sitting Clothespin Freak figure, card tray, blue slipcase in background.) Media: Paper, book board, book cloth, clothespin, fabric
10 1/8" x 9 5/8" x 1 7/16"


My work explores how mythology serves as a coping mechanism in angst-ridden times and how diverse cultures coexist symbiotically. It relates to feminism in its focus on conventional items such as clothespins and on other objects characterized by their intrinsic alignment with the feminine, like hatpins, darners, buttons, and thimbles. In the Clothespin Tarot (comprising a slipcase, 86-page artist book, deck of 78 cards and a "Clothespin Freak" figure made of a plastic clothespin and doll body parts) anthropomorphic clothespins are employed to manifest the classic divinatory tarot themes in a post-technological milieu. This obsession with clothespins not only reflects the conventional association with a woman’s task of hanging the laundry but also presents the clothespin as an analogue for the human body. Inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s focus on heritage and its array of human personalities, I think of the "Clothespin Freaks Portrait Gallery" as an ongoing conversation about our future, our mortality and our fears and hopes. These "Clothespin Freaks" are the mythological personalities of an imaginary future; their portraits are embroidered onto the fabric surfaces of these stuffed oval pictures next to quasi-botanical forms that are in fact human organs.

Catya Plate's work appeared in the following exhibition(s) organized by The Center for Book Arts
Threads: Interweaving Textu[r]al Meaning
 Organized by: Lois Morrison, Artist and Independent Curator; and Alexander Campos, Executive Director of The Center for Book Arts.
Clothespin Freak Portrait Gallery
Fabric, thread, polyester fiber

1. Brain Grabber
2. Foot Licker
3. Gut Feeler
4. Head Rider
5. Jaw Jumper
6. Kidney Spotter
7. Peeper Seeker
8. Pelvis Catcher
9. Windpipe Whisperer

©2014 Center for Book Arts, Incorporated 1974

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