I have interviewed many Somerville artists who like the late Andy Warhol find rather banal objects like soup cans, shoes, etc… as material for their art. Katherine Vetne, a graduate of Boston University, who I met at my usual well- appointed table at Bloc 11 in Union Square is no exception. In the case of this young artist she has chosen the spoon as one of the objects of her obsession. One of her exhibits at the Somerville Open Studios this year was her pencil drawings of 30 spoons.
Vetne is like a moth on a cheap suit when it comes to detail…she concentrates intensely and blocks out all the noise around her. She has spent time with these utensils and has a scholarly take on them. Now spoons to you or me might simply represent a way to transport grub into a salivating mouth but to Vetne they represent marriage, domesticity, family, and changing roles. Quite a mouthful—don’t you think? Vetne, 26, said her work is germane to her own phase of life in which women are expected to think about marriage, family, and silverware.
Vetne also told me she also explores feminist themes in her work. And to take it another step further she examines her own biology. Her bowl shape constructions strongly hint at the womb.
And of course Vetne is looking to produce innovative work. One installation that she described to me was a pair of latex gloves she blew up, dipping the fingers in plaster and filling the concavity with gold leaf.
Vetne has a day job to pay the rent. She works for a non-profit arts organization in Boston that provides artwork to human service organizations.
She also started the Boston Critique Group in 2010. Here with other artist she shares ideas, and is involved in an ongoing conversation about art and life. She told me: “The group plays an important role for the artist to feel validated.”
Although Vetne cannot survive on her art alone— she is making big strides to become an independent artist. As I always say there are a million stories in the Paris of New England—this has been one of them.