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University of Delaware Curatorial Fellow Solo Exhibition by Kate Testa

August 2 - 29, 2019

Friday, August 2 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop

In a joint venture with the University of Delaware, The Delaware Contemporary presents You Can't Make It Without Ever Even Trying, a solo exhibition of the work of Kate Testa, the 2018-19 University of Delaware Curatorial Fellow. This exhibition continues the exploration of her self-made spiritual practice and its relationship to the objects she creates. Using a pallet consisting of wood, fibers, glass, metal, and found objects, Testa creates sculptural collages, ritual objects, and installations that play roles in her constructed sacred customs. Influenced from her thoughts on the absurdity of religion, Testa challenges the viewer to question her beliefs in the objects’ power existing in an ambiguous space between fantasy and reality. 

Described as “tedious and time-consuming methods of construction,” Testa’s art-making practice facilitates ample time to focus her energies on the objects while she creates them in order to “activate and impart ritual significance." Items such as prayer candles fabricated out of paper are festooned with irreverently profane messages like "Healing Energy" and "Success". Painted with watercolor and gouache, the candles are ultimately burned to unleash their portended powers, their collected ashes serving as a record of the ritual. Through the aggregate of objects Testa hopes to open a dialogue on the function of religion and spiritual practices in our post-modern society hoping to amplify the pitfalls of religious practices and its promises of cure-alls and salvation through belief and blind devotion. 

With a background fundamentally enmeshed in the crafts, the work invites viewers to reconsider the grey space of speculation where contemporary craft exists in relation to the fine arts world. Each work is painstakingly crafted; and, is a heroic effort to explore themes of the metaphysical and the occult while investigating how the art making process can transcend into a spiritual practice.

Kate Testa is a mixed media artist based in Philadelphia. She received her BFA from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2008 where she studied glass. Having graduated, she then worked professionally in the glass industry for the next eight years in Seattle, WA. In 2018, she received her MFA concentrating in sculpture from the University of Delaware. She was awarded the 2018-19 Curatorial Fellow at The Delaware Contemporary and has taught at Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, DE and West Chester University in West Chester, PA. She is also a member of AUTOMAT, a gallery and curatorial collective in Philadelphia, PA.

Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space