Kathryn Desplanque

Exhibit Description
Kathryn Desplanque’s artwork builds universes on the edge of this one’s expansion where the laws of nature are wobbly and unrecognizable. Drawing on Platonic forms, deep sea animals, fungi, and theoretical physics she imagines places that border on the inconceivable and unknowable, macroscopic or microscopic, the alien. Her exotopias – alien/outsider landscapes – imagine states of nature beyond human comprehension and absent of humans ourselves.
In response to her experiences of racial liminality, national status liminality, misogyny, queerness, domestic abuse, and childhood assault, her exotopias reify the fruits of her disembodied imagination, emancipated from a world where her body and identities are contested and oppressed without her consent and in violation of her self-sovereignty.
Kathryn’s process aims to replicate the experience of liminality and diaspora through her use of the mechanics of optics and embodiment. Lying somewhere between delight and disorientation and rife with subtle internal contradictions, Kathryn’s work provides an escape into a hand-made and DIY alien universe devoid of markers of humanity. Situated somewhere between set building and illustration, her exotopias invite viewers into an embodied immersive experience that is peppered with porthole views into microcosmic drawings that invite close and intimate looking.
Artist Biography
Kathryn Desplanque, PhD is a mixed Black and white queer immigrant to the US. A daughter of immigrants to Canada, her ancestors are Caribbean and Dutch. She is a tenure-track assistant professor of art history at UNC Chapel Hill where she teaches and researches 18th and 19th century European visual culture, art worlds, and print history. Kathryn has shown her work at Peel Gallery, Artspace, and the Durham Art Guild, has built immersive installations for Sleepy Cat Records and Attic506, and participates in craft and zine fairs. Both Kathryn’s scholarship and her exhibition history demonstrate her interest in ignoring the boundaries that separate “high” and “low” or “Fine” and “popular” art.


Artist Name(s): Kathryn Desplanque
Exhibit Name: Neo-Psychedelia
Gallery Location: CAM Main Gallery
Current Status: Past