Katie Dallam

Katie Dallam
Katie Dallam
Dallam’s paintings of demons, skeletons, and monsters explore her experience of her own brain. In “My Master” fear and alienation are made visible. The figure is constructed of multicolored snakes twining together to make the shape of a woman’s body.
My Master
Acrylic on heavy paper, 40" x 32"
2006
BIO

Katie Dallam (b. 1959, Columbia, MO) received a BFA in 1983 and an MA in psychology from the University of Missouri. She made art and worked as a counselor for people with severe drug and alcohol problems until 1996, when she became permanently disabled due to a brain injury sustained during a boxing match. Solo shows include: “Shadowboxing: 20 Year Retrospective Solo Exhibition,” at The Urban Culture Project in Kansas City, MO (2005); “Before and After,” at the Johnson County Community College Student Gallery in Overland Park, KS (2005). Her art has been featured in numerous newspapers, including the front page of the New York Times (March 9, 2005), and TV shows, including NBC’s “Dateline” (April 25, 2005).

THE ART
Dallam’s experience is considered to be the source for F.X. O’Toole’s short story “Million Dollar Baby,” which was the basis for the movie of the same name, directed by Clint Eastwood. In it, the actual circumstances were changed to create a tragedy rather than the true tale of artistic and personal accomplishment. Dallam did not die—or attempt suicide—as a result of her injury. Instead, she worked to re-establish her art career, which was derailed after her traumatic brain injury, slowly regaining her skills after spending six months in a coma and emerging incapacitated. Her work is a ferocious contemplation of her changed sense of self.

Dallam’s paintings of demons, skeletons, and monsters explore her experience of her own brain. In “My Master” fear and alienation are made visible. The figure is constructed of multicolored snakes twining together to make the shape of a woman’s body. A serpent thrusts its way out of the woman’s head (ear? mouth?), conjuring up an image of an unruly mind at war with a frozen body. “My Master” is equally magnificent and terrifying in its struggle.