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 Katherine Hagstrum  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: monotype etchings

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Biography from American Design Ltd.:

"I am driven to create my artwork by a physical need to actively enter into a relationship with beautiful things around me," says Katherine Hagstrum.  Her monotype landscapes, which she calls "mindscapes," allow her to share the beauty of both real and imagined scenes with her audience.  "My landscapes are my fantasies - a fusion of all of the places I have been and have dreamed of," she adds.

For the past fifteen years, Hagstrum has been making her living as a full-time artist.  An earlier career, however, found her teaching English, art, and music in varied locations: Gabon, West Africa - while a member of the Peace Corps - and later, in Laos; Zaire, Africa; and Massachusetts.  Hagstrum had a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in French, but she began studying art, earning both an Associate of Arts degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a Bachelor of Science degree in Art and English from Empire State College.

Hagstrum chose to work with monotypes, she explains, "because it is a spontaneous medium, it allows for the exploration of many facets of a theme, and for the development of variations on a subject."  She creates her images by placing various objects, papers, and masks on a zinc plate and applying oil-based inks with rollers, brushes, fingers - any way that allows her to capture the texture and tones she wants.  Hagstrum uses three colors that are closely related to the primaries and that are mixed to different viscosities, allowing her to control where the colors will fall.  When the image is completed, she transfers it from the plate to a sheet of paper by means of an etching press.  Because there is no permanent marking on the plate, no two prints are identical.

"Monotype allows me to work spontaneously and freely," states Hagstrum.  "I explore an idea much the way a composer explores a musical theme with variations.  My improvisations are a direct response to the materials I work with - the shapes and textures of those materials evoke shapes and textures from a fantasy world that I then seek to develop into an image.  The final result is a fusion of imagination and materials."

Although her images are a result of her imagination, Hagstrum's landscapes have a reality and a wealth of texture and detail that reflect her keen observation and love of nature.  "I believe," she declares, "that no imaginary landscape can be more fantastic than nature itself.  I hope that my images will encourage people to take another look at nature and see some of the colors, shapes, and textures that they didn't believe were possible.  They may be surprised, as I was, to find them close to home."

In addition to her many exhibits, Hagstrum's monotypes are displayed in such national corporate collections as Citicorp, IBM Corporation, Price Waterhouse, and the Bank of Tokyo Trust, to name just a few.

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