Beth Katleman, ‘Lavinia’, 2013, Todd Merrill Studio

Beth Katleman’s cut-and-paste garden tableaus were inspired by the paintings of American artist Henry Darger (1892-1973) feature sweet young things battling in idyllic environs. Heroic young girls with swords defend themselves against tiny soldiers with guns. A statue of a girl with branches instead of arms, referencing Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus’ Lavinia, looms in the background. Will the goose on the steps be sacrificed?

Katleman’s sculptures and installations have been described by Ken Johnson in the New York Times as “doll-sized rococo theaters of murder and domestic mayhem.” Katleman’s work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at Gallery Seoul 12, Seoul, South Korea, the Pavilion of Art and Design/New York, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, Pavilion of Art and Design/London, Design Miami/Basel, Pavilion des Art & Design, Paris, the Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Her work has garnered critical attention in the Financial Times, the New York Times, The Art Economist, American Ceramics, Ceramics Art and Perception and Sculpture Magazine in the U.S., and in La Tribune e Moi, Paris, The Art Newspaper, Basel, Grand Design Magazine, Shanghai, Cacao Magazine, Taiwan, and numerous other publications. She is represented in the collections of the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, Kohler Company, Kohler, WI, the Kamm Teapot Foundation, Sparta, NC, the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT, Ci Kim Arario Gallery Collection, Seoul, Korea, and many private collections both in the U.S. and abroad. “Folly” was awarded Best Decorative Piece at the Pavilion of Art and Design/New York in 2011. Katleman holds a BA in English from Stanford University, an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA. She has taught at Pratt Institute, New York University and Greenwich House Pottery in New York. Born in Park Forest, Illinois, Katleman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Click here to purchase “Beth Katleman: Girls At War & Folly” catalogue published by Todd Merrill.

About Beth Katleman

In the late 1990s, Beth Katleman exhibited an elaborately adorned porcelain toilet on the floor next to a work by Andy Warhol. More recently, Katleman’s ornate ceramic sculptures have made their way to the walls in compositions that resemble three-dimensional toile. In all of Katleman’s work, she fuses florid Rococo aesthetics with mischievous, sardonic details that question traditional modes of decorative and narrative art. Taking a close look at Girls at War (2013), for instance, reveals closer associations to Henry Darger’s dystopian paintings of armies of young girls brandishing guns than it does bucolic, Baroque picnic scenes.

American, b. 1959, Park Forest, Illinois, based in Brooklyn, New York