Mimi Kato

Artifacts: Wild Corporation
office supplies, human hair, ribbons
dimensions variable

(b. 1974 – Nara, Japan) Multidisciplinary artist, Mimi Kato, creates artwork with a diverse range of subject matter, seamlessly moving between photography, digital media, and sculpture. In one series of triptychs, a digitally rendered fictional Japanese suburb is filled with people going about their daily lives, while playing upon gender stereotypes. Remarkably, each individual figure in these works is Kato herself, meticulously costumed and photographed. In another work, Kato collaborates with Cleveland’s Metroparks to create a luminescent site-specific piece that explores native and invasive species. Despite the stark shift in disciplines, Kato’s hand is obviously at work. Both pieces feature vibrant colors and describe the relationship between human intervention and the landscape.

In the sculptures presented in this exhibition, the artist comments on gender roles in the contemporary Japanese office environment, playfully imagining an inter-office revolt where administrative workers steal from their support station supply shelves to create a makeshift arsenal of protective weapons.

Kato received an MFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a BA in Photography from Truman State University. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US, including at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, OH, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX, Grand Rapids Art Museum, MI, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC. She has received a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (2013), Puffin Foundation Grant (2011), and The MacDowell Fellow Grant (2010). Kato is visiting Assistant Professor of Drawing and Design at Oberlin College.

From the nominating artist:

I love Mimi’s artistic sensibilities; her dusty colors and soft landscapes contrast elegantly with edgy figures. In visiting her studio, I was able to see a variety of her photographs and learn more about her process, which is charmingly and deceptively arduous. Through this in-depth meeting, I was most excited to learn of the extent of her narrative, which boldly touches on issues of femininity across geographical and cultural borders.
— Dana Oldfather

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