Born in 1961 in El Salvador, Katia’s passion since her childhood was the dance. In consequence, she turned it into her profession and danced for 25 years with several companies in her home country, in the United States and in Guatemala. Furthermore, she studied Arts Management at the University of Tampa, Florida, received in 1984 her Bachelor of Science degree with the specialisation in visual arts and managed art galleries in Florida and El Salvador. After her marriage, she raised her children and worked in the family business.
Some years ago, Katia restarted to focus on visual arts and found here a new way to express herself. Mainly she paints inspired by her preparative photos, but she also creates self-reliant photos, sculptures and installations. Her working process is very thorough, since she makes numerous preliminary studies, before starting the actual execution. This might be a habit, which she learned in her longstanding carrier as dancer, where perseverance and hard labour were essential. The resulting oeuvres express that rigour, in particular the oil paintings, which are hyper-realistic with attention to details, like in our artwork of the month November 2017, where the onlooker might perceive the content of a plastic bag.
Katia is particularly attracted by plastic bags: their origin, their short time usage and their future existence as element of pollution. This approach is a result of an intensive reflexion about humans’ attitude to wrap almost everything. Not only are we wrapping objects (aliments, merchandises) and ourselves (garments) for protection, but often enough as well to conceal. An expensive outfit might be a camouflage; an unapproachable behaviour could mask true feelings; a shopping bag hides purchased goods. In addition, the wrapping can be an expression of brand loyalty and class affiliation.
Instead of denouncing the negative aspects of wrapping and especially the impact of plastic on our environment, Katia displays her beloved plastic bags like a luxury product and draws our attention to them. It is the artists’ invitation to us, to reflect about our handling with pollutant materials.
It is certainly no coincidence that the Colombian fashion designer Francesca Miranda was in 2016 so inspired by Katia’s paintings, that she created a series of dresses and purses after her paintings. Also, she took part in the group exhibition “Imago Mundi/Guatemala” by the collection of the Italian fashion entrepreneur Luciano Benetton. Beyond that, since 2009 the artist participates regularly in collective shows in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. In 2016, she had her first solo exhibition in Colombia and in 2017 her works travelled for the first time to the United States (Naples, Florida) and Europe (Vienna, Austria and Florence, Italy).
At the same time, Katia started the new series “Permanent Maze”, where she focused on packing belts. As the title indicates, the painted presentation of this packaging material is not like a medial staging, but a cut-out from a larger context and shows a seemingly disordered tangle of tapes. However, the colouring is aesthetically appealing. Additionally, she added a three-dimensional version, where real packing belts protrude out of the frame. One of the paintings of “Permanent Maze” is artwork of the month in September 2020.
Besides continual participations in group exhibitions in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States, Katia had two solo shows in Guatemala in 2019. “Plástico fantástico” at the Galeria Alianza Francesa included an interactive installation with plastic waste. Whereas she focussed with “Tantum aqua” at the Galería El Attico on another element: water.
Katia lives and works in Guatemala City.