Born in Davao City, Philippines, Katrina Bello is a visual artist who works in New Jersey in the United States and in Metro Manila in the Philippines. Her work as a visual artist is informed by observations and experiences of natural environments encountered during the course of her travels and migration. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and the Philippines, and has been awarded fellowships and residencies in the United States. She attended the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and received a BFA from the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. Katrina is the founder of north willow, an informal artist-run attic exhibition space in Montclair in New Jersey.
Bello’s drawings are about the beauty, complexity, fragility and what is compelling about the natural world. She sees nature and our relationship to it as her point of departure in understanding humanity. What she’s particularly interested in drawing are landscapes of wildernesses, especially the ones that are distant and remote. Deserts, open seas, mountain ranges and forests – their breadth and seeming emptiness speak of what is “other” to our human world, our dreams, our fears and what is beyond our control. These places are also fragile and undergoing dramatic change from increased urbanization.
When Bello is in the studio making drawings, questions about our place, effect and purpose in the natural world occupy her thoughts. These questions come from the experience of migrating from coastal environments that have undergone dramatic change, and where some parts no longer exist. These questions are what propel her to choose drawing as the medium to carry what she feels and thinks about these subjects. Bello counts on the drawing medium to be a focused and tactile way of representing the patterns and forms found in nature. She uses detailed line drawing, size and scale as the means of insisting on the urgency of the subject of the work. The works are either 5 by 8 feet, or 5 by 8 inches in size. Through drawing, she’s creating spaces that are vast, yet finite and intimate. She want to viewer to get a sense of either being enveloped and surrounded by this space, or the sense that they can hold it in the palm of their hand.