“The Best That I Can Give You and Less Than Half of What You Deserve”

Katie Pell thinks you’re worth it. She tells you so in “The Best That I Can Give You and Less Than Half of What You Deserve.” “I wanted to do a piece where it was a like a diorama but the person who was walking through the painting was part of [it],” she says. “[It’s] about, kind of, universal love…”

The San Antonio artist says society’s obsession with rock star and porn star lifestyles inspired the piece. “Like what I think about when I hear all my friends are getting their tongues pierced so they can give better blow jobs. I just feel like, c’mon you guys, take it easy, dude. It’s all right, you don’t have to be a super porn star, you don’t have to be like the world’s best person in bed, you don’t have to have the hardest abs, you don’t have to have the coolest clothes. You can just be a dorky person who likes to give hugs.”

Pell noticed the same insecurities in herself, though. “I had a baby and I was all worried about downtown, you know? Like what’s gonna happen down there? Am I like never going to — is this ever going to recover?” she says. “And [my midwife] was like, ‘Well, what if it doesn’t? What are you talking about? Who are you? Linda Lovelace? What do you care?’”

Pell tries to chase those obsessions away with her diorama-style paintings, which feature animals and plants framing empty spaces for the viewer to stand in. “If you’re looking at the painting, then hopefully you’re standing in the position where whoever is behind you can see you…being adored by all the things that are coming towards you from the side.”

The intention is to give viewers a sense of being happy with who they are. “We don’t all have to…have a baby and then have a vagina like as tight as a virgin the next week, you know? You really don’t have to do anything more than what you’re doing now, and let’s just take a second and look at everything you’ve done so far and give you a standing ovation.” The show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through February 23. Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org. Free. Read the entire interview with Katie Pell and Asst. Night & Day Editor Dusti Rhodes online at www.houstonpress.com.
Mondays-Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 18. Continues through Feb. 23, 2008

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Dusti Rhodes
Contact: Dusti Rhodes