Fall 2006 International Artist-in-Residence Program


  • Fall 2006 International Artist-in-Residence Program
  • Exhibition Dates: Nov 16,2006 - Jan 14,2007
  • About the artist
  • Katie Pell at work cropKatie Pell

    Through exuberant drawing, performance projects, and comic books, Katie Pell celebrates vernacular traditions, presenting a world without taboos or boundaries—one where anything is possible for those who go beyond given conditions and, just as Sol LeWitt famously stated, “doRead more

About the exhibition

With Bitchen, Katie Pell has depicted a parallel universe in which women use their disposable income to customize domestic appliances with the competitive zeal of their male counterparts: car fanatics.

An editioned comic book on view in the gallery tells the story. Its seventeen pen, ink, and colored pencil pages follow a group of women who win a class action lawsuit against a major discount retailer and use their small windfall to begin a custom appliance enterprise. The machines eventually become a mainstream phenomenon and ultimately benefit the big box store whose discrimination helped them come into being.

An installation of objects illustrates the narrative. A smoldering purple stove emblazoned with the show’s title spits flames with the flip of a switch; the interior of a candy-colored dryer is tricked out with plush leopard print upholstery and a crystal display that operates on slow rotation; a stand-up freezer is faced with burnt wood murals of deer in love and decked out with a custom knotty pine interior and chandelier. Like hotrod slogans that suggest the creed of the owner, several chromed-out toasters are engraved with a cursive “Love” and “Hate,” a duality that expresses the passion of these everyday ladies.

While the appliances are activated only during staged demonstrations, altered digital portraits show women living with their personalized products. Projected on a wall is video footage of the objects on display at a local car show, where they won second place in the orphan category.

Pell’s Bitchen shares the tale of a motley crew of mothers, sisters, conservatives, and liberals who, unfazed by norms and the imbalanced emphasis on male-defined recreation, just do.

-Kate Green

Other works in this cycle