Betsey Gravatt is an artist based in North Texas. She received her BFA in Studio Art, with a concentration in Drawing and Painting, from the University of North Texas. She is currently in her second year at Texas Woman’s University, undertaking an MFA in Painting, and a minor in Intermedia. Gravatt's work has received several awards, including the Annual Voertman's Award, The Cindi and Mike Holt Award, and the John Weinkein Distinction in the Visual Arts Award.
Betsey currently teaches Basic Drawing at Texas Woman's University, and gives Professional Practices lectures at universities and high schools in the North Texas area. In recent years, she has been an artist in residence in New York, North Carolina, and California, and her upcoming projects include solo exhibitions in Denton and Fort Worth, Texas.
Through my work, I examine different locations and my fascination with people’s abilities to adapt and live in both urban and rural environments. In my paintings, I use vibrant colors and an alphabet of geometric and organic shapes to depict happy memories of places I lived or visited while growing up, and my recollection of them. While most of my pieces reference specific locations relevant to my childhood, I have begun to work with and depict imaginary places as well. I am intrigued by the possibility of depicting my ideas non-representationally, through color, shape, and line.
My process begins in programs such as SketchUp and Illustrator, where I am able to continuously create interacting rectilinear and organic objects that become part of a large and intricate structure. I work primarily with gouache, watercolor, and spray paint on birch panel and paper, that is often laser cut into nonsensical shapes, in order to create spatially ambiguous compositions that reference architecture as well as optical illusion.
I am also inspired by children’s toys that were popular in the 90’s, such as Lisa Frank and Polly Pocket dolls, and by TV shows I watched as a young girl. In order to reference this aspect of my childhood, I tend to use over the top, bright colors that I associate with happy memories. My paintings are exploratory rather than didactic, and one of my goals is to create an alternate reality for myself and my viewers to navigate. To me this environment is inviting and friendly, and reminds me of the places and objects I enjoyed while growing up.