Kate Bingaman Burt‘s art might seem a bit compulsive at first glance. She spent eight years drawing one thing that she purchased each day. She spent another two years documenting everything she bought by filing photos and receipts away into an archive. She drew her credit card statements every month until she was debt free (six years later).
You might ask yourself why anyone would take the time to document something as mundane as this. Kate’s work pokes at our consumer culture and highlights the emotions, like joy and guilt, behind our consumption. She is a curator, a collector, a storyteller, a repetitive archivist, a chaotic creative, a disciplined art soldier, an explorer of the mundane. She is committed to the crazy.
There is a transparency to her work that makes you think everything is laid bare, the ephemera of daily life, the dollars and cents, the little bits that make up a life. But the spots don’t represent the leopard and the tail, trunk and legs don’t illustrate the elephant. By revealing so much of the mundane, Kate highlights how much we each have hidden away. The curios and ornaments of our lives, the bits and pieces that we leave behind, these are the stories that sometimes define us but never explain us. And at the heart of it all is the irony that we are all consuming her consumption. The collecting itself begets more consumption. Visually, emotionally, viscerally, this is what human beings do. We consume and collect and excrete and then we repeat that process over and over again. We consume, therefore we are.