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. In August of this year, she began undertaking her MFA at Texas Woman’s University. Gravatt has participated in group shows such as the Annual Voertman’s Competition, where her piece received the 55th Annual Voertman’s Award, and Art in the Metroplex at the Fort Worth Community Art Center, where her painting was awarded the Cindi and Mike Holt Award.
Recently, Betsey has been giving lectures at Texas high schools on how emerging artists can promote and sustain themselves in the art world, and she attended two residencies in New York and North Carolina. Her upcoming projects include solo exhibitions in Youngstown OH, Fort Worth TX, and Denton TX, along with residencies in New York and California.
In my sculptures and paintings I tend to use over the top, bright colors that I associate with happy memories, as well as toys or cartoons I liked as a child. I am inspired by children’s toys that were popular in the 90’s, such as Lisa Frank and Polly Pocket dolls, as well as TV shows I watched as a young girl. By using colors and shapes inspired by 90’s pop culture, my paintings and sculptures can appear inviting and attractive at first glance, however, the reoccurring amorphous blob forms and synthetic materials can also be seen as grotesque.
Growing up in very rural areas of North Carolina and Texas, I have always been fascinated with the ways people adapt to and live in urban and rural settings. Location has always been incredibly influential in my body of work, and I find that my surroundings and environment alter and shape my artwork. As well as taking influence from 90's pop culture, the content of much of my work is inspired by crowded cities and rural landscapes. I am interested in the harsh contrast between these types of environments, which I attempt to illustrate non-representationally, through color, shape, and line.
My paintings are exploratory rather than didactic, and one of my goals is to create another reality for myself and my viewers to explore, that appears to be friendly and playful, but upon further investigation can start to seem ambiguous or unsettling. I attempt to evoke confused feelings of happiness and disgust by combining non-traditional media such as expanding foam, string, plastic, and glitter with traditional drawing and painting.