is a collective show featuring artists who represent a young, working-class, art class perspective united by a sensibility that combines urban grit, an ineffable dream-like quality and an almost haunted yearning for connection with the essence of life. The work also embodies a blend of seeming thematic opposites that complement one another.
The artists include Heidi Kleder, Kit Ramsey, Kat Salvaggio, Jamie Knowlton and Tacoma Washington, and their media range from pen and ink drawings tomixed media painting to Intaglio prints and photographs. Night Job opens at Europa Coffee House at 7 p.m. on September 4 with a free taco bar; it runs through the month. We sat down with Knowlton, who set up the show, Kleder and Salvaggio to discuss what the name represents and why Knowlton wanted to include artists who rarely display their work.
Westword: Why did you want to call this showing Night Job?
Jamie Knowlton: We were driving Kat's car and we were throwing words around. I thought of court fees and Night Court and then Night Job. The synthesis of the day-to-day grind and dealing with the man.
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Jamie: In Denver, I feel like artist statements are sometimes synonymous with an art community that I'm not a part of. In terms of class and economics, there's definitely a disparity between kind of low-brow and high-brow art and I feel like a lot of our friends dwell in the middle of that. I'm a writer, too, so I wanted to make it silly and sound good but not necessarily mean anything. The name Night Job also signifies that we have to work to live in this society but also, look at all these free things we can have together.
Is there a reason that this group of people came together for this show?
Jamie Knowlton: I feel like some people have been underrepresented because maybe they're a little bit more shy or they don't play the game of the art world. I wanted to expose their art because I really respect these people beyond being friends, I also respect their craftsmanship.
Do you see any thematic similarities or resonances between the work of everyone involved in the show?
Kat Salvaggio: Based on the work I've seen it has a similar vibe of catching situations and catching environments and a sense of disillusionment.
Jamie Knowlton: I see that in your work and perhaps Tacoma's. For the four of us, there is a grittier quality simultaneous with a sense of humor to it. It's not that we think our art is a joke. It's more like the Buddhist kind of humor in that nothing in some ways matters so let's all laugh about it together. I think there's that theme of a gritty darkness that's joyous too. I think the name Night Job reflects that as well.
Heidi Kleder: I think there's a lot of youth that comes through all of our work. Just different perceptions of our youth.
Kat, you largely keep your work at home and just share it with friends. What sort of medium will be represented at this show?
Kat Salvaggio: The stuff I'm going to have at this show are Intaglio prints. It's my major right now. I think it's one of the most engaging mediums because you have to put so much of yourself into it and you have to spend a lot of time with your medium and I think it offers you this versatility outside of any other form of print making and drawing that really allows you to open yourself up to the medium.
Heidi, you're more known for performance art and costuming these days. You're doing visual art of a different sort of this show?
Heidi Kleder I'm doing pen and ink drawings, which is kind of a throwback. I did that five years ago but I haven't been practicing a whole lot in the last few years. It comes naturally but I feel like it's stressful because it's so different from what I have been doing lately with performance art and costume and working with fabric. I'm putting more ideas behind the work whereas the skill is already there.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.