Pop star Britney Spears made a huge impression on Katie Armstrong (BFA 2010 Visual and Critical Studies) as an adolescent, so much so that Armstrong has dedicated her debut solo exhibition to “…Baby One More Time,” the chart-topping song that launched Spears to mega stardom and propelled a pop music explosion.
Opening September 8 at New York City’s BravinLee gallery, 526 West 26 Street, #211, “Once More, Once More” features two of Armstrong’s highly-detailed animations. The first, “Once More, Once More,” marks the completion of a series of works based upon her interpretations of pop songs that impacted her as a young woman, with Armstrong’s own rendition of the Spears’ hit serving as the soundtrack for the piece.
Asked why she chose that piece to cap off her series, Armstrong said, “First and foremost, it is my opinion that ‘…Baby One More Time’ is the quintessential pop song. It embodies everything that is irritating, alluring and strange about chart music. Britney Spears is an icon, the ultimate tragic heroine of contemporary music, and was very influential to me as a 12-year-old.”
“Things Tamed,” the other featured piece included in the show, is “an experiment in storytelling, a study of time and visual language from the perspective of someone raised on the Internet,” according to Armstrong. It was her way of exploring the question, “How descriptive do images need to be in order for them to be emotionally evocative on a narrative level?”
Both animations were drawn one frame at a time. Armstrong said she prefers this method because it allows for greater thoughtfulness, and compares the process to choreographing a ballet.
Vital to the project was a scholarship received from the BFA Visual and Critical Studies Department that allowed her to go to Leipzig, Germany, for a five-month residency in order to complete the works. Armstrong also credits her time at SVA for contributing to her development as an artist. “I’d say the most important skill I took away from my time at SVA was the ability to look at the world with a discerning eye,” she said.
“Once More, Once More” will be on display at BravinLee through November 24; the opening reception is Thursday, September 8, from 6 – 8pm.
Images: (top) Self-portrait; (bottom) stills from “Once More, Once More.” Images courtesy of the artist.