Kate Powrie

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

One Night Stand

My exhibition aims to evoke a feeling of presence in absence. It explores the idea of having traces of someone in a space that represents their absence as well as the comfort of their previous and potentially future presence. I highlight the significance of the bed as a site of being and belonging, an extension of the self, and the challenges of letting others into my physical and emotional spaces. The presence of multiple beds in my work signifies a sense of connection between people who share the same bed space.

In my body of work, I am exploring how the bed and the spaces around it reflect the character of its occupant. I collected images of bedside tables from over 60 people, including friends, family, and strangers. I catalogued the items found on these tables, which revealed intimate and personal aspects of the owners. I reflected on how these objects create a picture of a person and how my own perceptions influenced this understanding. This project led to an exploration of the traces people leave in bedrooms and my own traces in spaces I share with others. Most of my work is focused on bedroom spaces I have occupied, and it culminated in a series of still-life paintings representing these “bedroom traces,” such as lipstick smudges and personal items left behind in these spaces.

I created three life-size paintings of beds that I had slept in with other people. These paintings capture the moments immediately after waking up, freezing that specific time. However, this negative emotion led me to think about the comforting spaces with people who understand my sleep issues. The second and third paintings portray these safe and comforting beds and symbolise the relationships with the people I shared them with. Together, these paintings create a sense of reverence for the bed as a precious and important space in my life.

I introduce the concept of digestion, using imagery of the gut and bodily processing to symbolise the understanding and processing of other people’s lives and emotions within the bed space. Pillows and blankets manipulated to resemble intestine-like shapes illustrate this idea. This metaphorical connection between the bed and the body is emphasised, as letting someone into my bed is like letting them into an extension of my own body.