Katie Gorrie is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in large scale, highly saturated acrylic paintings and digital media. Her artistic practice focuses on body positivity/neutrality, the effects of mental illness, and sense of self. Her paintings feature bright, "eye-frying" colours inspired by her childhood in the 1990s and early 2000s. Her work often nods to the psychedelic art movement of the 60s, highlighting text and chaotic imagery. Katie often includes partial figures in her work to explore the idea of separating the body from one’s identity and worth. Katie has co-founded an artist collective called Sensitive Girls Club in 2019 with 3 other female artists and continues to make work with this group and sell at juried art markets and fairs in the GTA and Hamilton. She currently runs her own arts business selling art prints, paintings, stickers and clothing.
Katie has worked and volunteered for community organizations in Hamilton, Ontario with the goal of making her community a better place to live in. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and helping others feel comfortable in their own skin. She has an Advanced Diploma in Visual and Creative Arts from Sheridan College and a BA in Sociology from McMaster University.
Katie participated in her first group show in 2017 as a self-taught artist and won the first-place award for the "Love" category in the Arts of August 2017 show in Hamilton, Ontario. Katie was included in the group show "Twenty-Something" at Propeller Art Gallery in Toronto, Ontario in July 2022, and was a featured artist in the Queen West Art Crawl in Toronto, Ontario in September 2022.
Contrast and juxtaposition are themes I typically use in my paintings and artwork. I use bright contrasting colours juxtaposed with emotional messages and create large works about ideas we have been conditioned to hide away. Creating art for me is therapeutic, it is a way for me to express the intensity of my emotions to others. Creating large scale works allows my viewers to be overwhelmed by the message of the piece and get an idea of how I feel. Bright contrasting colours in my work help to convey the intensity of my emotions and thoughts to my audience. More than displaying my emotions to my audience, I want to connect with and validate those who feel the same way, I want people like me to see that their emotions are valid.
A large part of my work is exploring the concept of separating the body from one’s identity and worth. I try to challenge standards of beauty in my work by painting ‘everyday’ bodies as works of art. I like to change the colours to be unrealistic in these paintings to allow a more universal experience of the work and to very loudly celebrate the bodies featured. I paint segmented bodies and body parts to try to understand how we can separate the body from a person's worth. As a woman, it is a difficult task as we are taught from a young age that our bodies are our most important asset and the primary way in which we will be judged for the rest of our lives. As a woman living in a larger body, this is made even more difficult as society tells us that our worth shrinks the larger our bodies become.
My goal is to create a sense of community with my work and empower people to view themselves with compassion and admiration. Through my work with body-positive body portraits, I create paintings of peoples’ bodily insecurities and turn them into works of art to show people that their bodies are unique, beautiful and worthy of celebration.
I would like to explore whether it is possible to paint the female form without the interference of the ‘male gaze’. The male gaze is a way of viewing women that sexualizes and objectifies women while simultaneously empowering men. “In the male gaze, woman is visually positioned as an “object” of heterosexual male desire. Her feelings, thoughts and her own sexual drives are less important than her being ‘framed’ by male desire,” (Janice Loreck, https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-does-the-male-gaze-mean-and-what-about-a-female-gaze-52486).
There is a Margaret Atwood quote that has informed my curiosity about this subject, “Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy: that you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur,” (The Robber Bride, 1993).
I want to incorporate my knowledge of and education in sociology into my painting work. My plan is to paint female and female presenting bodies realistically (except for colour), with as much diversity in body type, gender identity, and race/culture as possible with the goal of featuring them in an exhibition. Before the exhibition, I would conduct a short interview with the painting subjects about the topic and use some of the data in the exhibit. At this exhibition, I would invite viewers to fill out a short survey about their thoughts and feelings as they viewed the exhibition. I would then collate the data and draw findings from this to publish in a short mini documentary. I will create this with the help of a friend who has experience in documentary film making.