Interview: Kathy Rose

Interview: Kathy RoseImage courtesy of Kathy Rose

Interview: Kathy Rose

Luca Curci talks with Kathy Rose during the VISIONS of ANIMA MUNDI Festival 2017 in Venice.

Kathy Rose’s work has evolved from her early drawn animated films of the 1970’s, through her unique, pioneering performance work combining dance with film in the 1980-90’s, to her current surreal performance video spectacles and videos, with influence from symbolist art and the Japanese Noh theater. Kathy Rose has toured extensively in live performance throughout the United States and Europe, giving performances at the Museum of Modern Art, Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Gulbenkian Foundation, etc.
Rose recently premiered a new piece “Opera of the Interior” at ANIMATOR 2015 in Poland.
Her videos have shown in numerous festivals such as Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL, Fashion Film Festival Milano, etc. Her video “Cubistimenco” showed in the Hiroshima Animation Festival in the program Best in the World. “The Unpainted Woman” showing in Rome, Italy in It’s Liquid Experimental Video and Performance Art Festival at the BAU International Academy.
Recent one-woman shows also include the Pompidou Center for “A Shaded View of FashionFilmFestival”, EPOSFilm Art Festival at theTel Aviv Museum.

 

Kathy Rose InterviewImage courtesy of Kathy Rose

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Luca Curci – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works? 

Kathy Rose –  “The Unpainted Woman” is a pre-existing work, that in addition to It’s Liquid, has shown at dance video and experimental video festivals. This particular video continues some of my past work combining the human element with plants or animals. Such pieces include Spirit of the Insects, Ritual of the Fall (aviary world), Raptures of the Petals (flowers) etc. combining reality with fantasy resulting in constructed beings.

 

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L. C. – Please tell me what are you working at right now…

K. R. – At the moment, I am working to create a video based on drawings I have been making digitally for the past 3 years. These drawings are extremely satisfying to me; I use my iPad, and even my iPhone. This next video will return me to my past discipline of frame by frame animation, which dates from the 1970’s.  I am very involved in these designs in the use of color, and in creating characters that are both witty and mysterious, with a fashion element.  I also have other plans for a video after that which again continues my interest in the animal/human creations, and will continue in that upcoming video to use imagery in the same way as my previous works.

 

L.C. – What is art for you?

K.R. – Art is a way to balance oneself, lift the mind from external cares, while at the same time connecting with the universe itself. It is a dance with the other world.

 

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L.C. – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most? 

K.R. –  I originally thought I would be an illustrator, but then became involved in film when I was 16. This was begun because of a photography assignment that an art teacher gave (I was at the High School of Music and Art, in N.Y.C.) But the larger influence was provided by my father, Ben Rose, who was a commercial photographer, and encouraged me greatly to pursue film, even renting Beaulieu cameras for me. At that time, he, himself was embarking on experimental photography, using computers and unique mechanisms, such as a bicycle, and turntable, to generate imagery creating movement and pattern. I believe he was the first to use computers to do this, in 1964. He was very brilliant and had a great instinctive sense of art. I consider myself to be very lucky to be raised in this family. My brother, Peter was also at the same time beginning to work with experimental media which he continues to this day.

I then went to the Philadelphia College of Art and majored in film. While there I became very involved with a multi-media dance company – Group Motion from Berlin. The directors were former students of the great expressionist dancer Mary Wigman. From them, I learned a great deal about discipline and structure, and I became a dancer. 

 

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At around that time, in a History of Film class, I saw the work of a Japanese animator – Yoji Kuri. I was struck by his design, and great wit, and became completely obsessed with animation, at first being self-taught. This led to my going to graduate school for animation, at a magical, amazing place called the California Institute of the Arts, where I made a number of animated films, under the guidance of the great teacher, Jules Engel.

 

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In the l980’s I found myself returning to performance, by creating dances that I performed with animation, and live action film. I toured extensively with these works throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Over the years, I have worked with this type of interdisciplinary performance, using video, collaborating with musicians, costume designers, etc. I have created installations as well, and was greatly motivated to create an alternate universe on stage with this combination of performance and media, sometimes using veils as projection surfaces. For the last 10 years, I have been intensely involved with making videos, and now I find myself in my current project returning to frame by frame animation, through the drawings I mentioned. Since I became aware of Yoji Kuri’s work, I have been significantly influenced by the supernatural art and theater of Japan, including Japanese Noh, Bunraku theater, and Butoh dance. 

 

L.C. – What role does the artist have in society? And the art?

K.R. – The artist is a beacon, of sanity, I hope, distilling issues and complexities of the world into forms that we can regard and digest. To absorb a work of art is to be healed. I also teach interdisciplinary performance, and experimental video, and I find the relationship with my students is a wonderful way to give back to the world.

 

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L.C. – What is your creative process like?                                                                                               

K.R. – My creative process for years has varied greatly according to the project. Each piece, whether, performance or video, seems to have its own requirements, and so every process is different.   I do believe largely in following the practical route to create the process.  In the l980’s I would sit and allow the ideas to come to me. Now I find I am smartest in the morning, and so I try to do my work then.For my video work,  I  often shoot sets in miniature, resulting in a more totemic effect, For this I use a small table in my studio, as a stage.  It also allows me to design more objectively, from a distance.

 

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L.C. – What do you think about It’s LIQUID Platform?

K.R. – I think It’s Liquid gives great thematic canvases for artists to present their work, also in great company with other artists.

L.C. – What do you think about our organization of the event?

K.R. –  The organization is very professional and thorough, and I think sensitive to the views of the artists. The on line presentations, I find very impressive.

 

 

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