Kate Costello, P&P, 2016, video, 1 min., 26 sec. (artwork © Kate Costello)

From “The Space of the Image” by Rita Gonzalez, published in P&P (Brooklyn, NY: Midgramme, 2015):

The drawings in this collection cover a span of Kate Costello’s artistic practice from 2003 to the present, and although there is a diaristic aspect to them, the sequencing is not chronological. This disavowal of an artist’s “progress” or “evolution” is significant and accords with Costello’s account of the multiple resonances of the drawn image in her work, most notably in her use of the term “reconnecting.” Costello is mostly known for her figurative sculptures and for a highly sensitive approach to thinking through objects in ensembles, collections, or even micro-exhibitions within an exhibition. Moving through this book, it is clear that a “reconnecting” of shapes, forms, archetypes, expressions, notations, and (in the artist’s words) “thoughts that vibrate” allows her the freedom to shift from a seemingly spontaneous form of expression to a concerted mode of display, and possibly back again.

Costello has also borrowed from graphic design and primary forms in the decorative arts, and there are drawings in this collection that have been enlarged and turned into panel works. The title of this volume, P&P, is a lovable shorthand for “portrait and patterns” and spelled out even has an emoji-like doubleness that fits well within Costello’s cosmos of signs and symbols. It calls to mind her drawing and sculpture u/n (2008), a piece that was instigated by subway signage. The mixed resonances of the letters u/n provided the artist an opportunity to unfix meaning and the freedom to concretize letters into objects.

She plays with this blurring of lines (literally) in her book Fears & Accessories (published by One Star Press in 2014), where the saturation of the black silhouette drawings and the transparency of the paper make for overlays.

Costello’s work has frequently played with competing modes of informality and decisiveness, the latter expressed in her attention to exhibitionary models—for example, in her Portrait Gallery (2005).

The artist book has been a productive site for Costello to work out ideas about where images reside and about the possibilities of seeing and moving through one image to the next—perhaps another form of animation.

Kate Costello lives and works in Los Angeles, California. In 2016, she published an artist’s book, P&P with Midgramme, and was an artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, California. In 2015, she co-curated an exhibit of figurative sculpture with Liz Craft, Mirror Effect, at The Box Gallery, Los Angeles. Costello’s first book Fears & Accessories was published by Onestar Press in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include: Drawings, LAXART, Los Angeles (2015); Kiki & Me, Rob Tufnell Gallery, London (2014); Kiki & Me, Wallspace Gallery, New York (2011); Kate Costello, The Suburban Gallery, Oak Park, Illinois (2011); Cockaigne, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles (2010); and Tattooed Ladies, Wallspace Gallery (2011). Selected group exhibitions include Extraterrestrial, with Jedediah Caesar, Finley Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); Made in LA, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); This Place You See, Kadist Foundation, Paris (2009); Making Do—curated by Robert Storr, Green Gallery, Yale University School of Art, New Haven (2007); THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005); High Desert Test Site 2, Joshua Tree, California (2003). Costello holds a BA from Tufts University, a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and an MFA from the University of Southern California.