Charnley hosts 'Vices and Virtues' at Bates

Category:  The Arts
Sunday, March 7th, 2021 at 3:25 PM
Charnley hosts 'Vices and Virtues' at Bates by Nicholas Constantino
Photo: Nicholas Constantino

Edinboro graduate student Kat Charnley’s newest exhibit, “Vices and Virtues,” was on display from Feb. 16-25 in Loveland Hall’s Bates Gallery. She recently spoke to The Spectator about both her exhibit and love of art.

“Visually, my work is figurative … so they’re (her pieces) human bodies that have animal heads on them,” she said. Charnley explained that the animal heads could symbolize “emotional turmoil that the figure is going through, or just be representative of kind of the essence of the piece or whatever kind of emotions I'm going through at that moment.”

Charnley elaborated further. “My work looks at the way that people spend their time when they’re by themselves, or when they’re in select company. So, like the way that you act by yourself may be different than when you’re in a professional environment or a friendly environment. I’m looking at the way that social pressures influence the way that people act in different situations.”

Charnley’s work also explores the way that isolation affects human’s moods, the kind of interests we would pursue in isolation, and “vices and virtues and how those change culturally, on an individual level or regionally.”

She hopes to “invoke curiosity” in those who come to view her work. Perhaps they’ll ask questions about why she merges animal heads and human bodies and what that might symbolize, or maybe they'll make a connection between humans and animals. She further hopes her viewers will come to see that animals are on an equal level with humans, instead of lower, which is something our society often believes.

Art has always been a part of Charnley’s life. It wasn’t until high school, however, that she decided she wanted to be an artist. She attended SUNY Brockport for an undergraduate degree and pursued drawing, before discovering and deciding on a master’s of fine arts in printmaking.

As previously hinted at, her inspiration for “Vices and Virtues” stemmed from her concern for animals. She had previously drawn animals, but those were “more literal.” She began work on “Vices and Virtues” after the start of COVID, while she was in isolation and began to think about what kinds of activities other people would pursue during this period.

Some of the pieces in “Vices and Virtues” include “I Can’t Relax,” “Herd Brewing,” and “Take Care.”

Charnley stated that her favorite medium is printmaking and she is interested in intaglio (etching). She personally does copperplate etchings and lithography, the latter which is “drawing on a level but very wide stone, processing your image on that stone and then being able to pull prints off of that stone.”

“Vices and Virtues” isn’t the only exhibit that Charnley has taken part in. She has been involved in several group shows, “mostly on an academic level.” She previously won a Purchase Award for “Take Care” at the Delta National Small Printers Exchange in Arkansas, which was then purchased by the gallery and is currently in their private collection. Two of her other works, “Sunday Snacks” and “Divide and Procrastination,” were accepted into the Erie Spring Show, which is hosted by the Erie Art Museum. Charnley stated she also had another solo exhibition during her undergrad years. “Vices and Virtues” is therefore her second solo exhibition.

Charnley would like to keep creating art once she is out of college and eventually get a job in academia. In addition to being in her second year of a three-year master’s program (with a concentration on printmaking), Charnley is also teaching workshops, one of which is through the Pittsburgh Center of Arts and Media via Zoom. In this workshop, she teaches her students how to make prints at home with limited materials and equipment. In addition to an academic job, Charnley would like to continue teaching workshops and possibly own her own business one day.

Charnley’s work can be viewed or purchased on her website, and you can follow her on Instagram.

Nicholas Constantino is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at

Additional Photos:

Photo: Nicholas ConstantinoPhoto: Nicholas Constantino

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