Kayt Hester: For the Love of Masking Tape and the Pixies

by Erina Davidson

When I hear “tape art”, I often think of duct tape dresses or hall decorations in college dorms. If I heard that someone was pushing to have “tape art” in a gallery space, I would most likely question the artist’s intent and skill level. But the sophistication and quirkiness of Kayt Hester’s masking tape pieces make me rethink what goes on a canvas, let alone the walls of a gallery show.

Using ripped up bits of ordinary black masking tape on a blank canvas, Hester creates intimate portraits of friends and icons such as Jackie Kennedy. Regardless of subject matter, her tender, sensitive, and simple pieces never lack personal interest or care. (One would also have to have a lot of heart in order to be patient enough to rip up whole rolls of masking tape.)

Hester’s latest venture is a solo show titled “Caribou”, a series based on her favorite Pixies songs. Using song lyrics and titles as inspiration, the artist takes the fondness and aural pleasure she associates with the music and recreates it visually with her staple black tape and white canvas.

“Caribou” kicks off on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 from 7pm until 10pm at LITM, located at 142 Jersey Avenue in Downtown Jersey City. DJ Dancing Tony, a resident merrymaker, will be on hand to spin songs by the Pixies and local photographer Emily August will be capturing guest portraits in front of a custom masking tape tapestry that will be sold with a percentage of proceeds benefiting Jersey City’s Liberty Humane Society.

Formerly a still-life photographer for publications such as Martha Stewart, Scholastic Magazine, and J. Crew, Kayt Hester began using leftover darkroom tape to paint sensitive portraits and capture moments exactly how she saw them.

A Jersey City artist, she has been awarded solo shows as well as a collaboration with the Jersey City Museum. She was previously featured in Nylon Magazine.

Get a sneak peak of the show and see more of Hester’s work (including cute pictures of her cats in the studio) on the artist’s website: http://www.kaythester.com

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