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KATIE PUMPHREY: Monsters Below

March 16th - April 28th, 2023

FIRST FRIDAY OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, April 7th, 6pm to 8pm

THIRD THURSDAYS: March 16th, 5pm - 8pm; April 20th, 5pm - 8pm

ARTIST TALK: April 15th, Noon - 2pm


Washington, DCWashington Studio School (WSS) is pleased to present Monsters Below, a solo exhibition featuring recent work by Katie Pumphrey, with large scale paintings, sculptures, and a site specific installation. Pulling from her experiences as an open water swimmer, her work uses playful imagery, vibrating color, and a bit of silliness, to investigate the tension between the constant chaos around us and the scramble to find calm at the surface of it all.

Monsters Below explores the sneaky trickster that is our imagination. The beasts of our anxieties and fears try to convince us the darkness is full of silly-eyed monsters that will swallow us whole. We wrestle them again and again, thinking we've made it to the other side. Yet they're always lurking just below. Swells hit you like a dodgeball to the face. Up gets lost in the down. We make jokes to lighten the moment and tell the monsters to go away. But, those sneaky little suckers keep nipping at your heels, testing our every instinct to react. Despite the struggle, again and again, we plunge feet first into the shark-infested pool of our fears- and somehow, stroke after stroke, over and over, we calm the waves, adjust to the light, and ease the turbulence.

And over and over we joke- it's gonna be fun.

About the Artist

Katie Pumphrey is an American contemporary artist. Pumphrey has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has participated in artist residencies at the Studios of Key West, Vermont Studio Center, Gallery Four, and the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including solo exhibitions in Baltimore, Washington DC, Alexandria, and Key West. Pumphrey is also an ultra-marathon open water swimmer. Katie has swam the English Channel twice (2015, 2022), as well as around the island of Manhattan (2017), and the Catalina Channel (2018). Those three swims make up the Triple Crown of open water swimming, making Katie the 194th person (73rd woman) in the world to achieve that honor. This aspect of her life constantly influences and drives her work. Pumphrey lives and works in Baltimore City, MD.

About Washington Studio School

Washington Studio School (WSS) is a nonprofit studio arts organization in Washington, DC whose mission is to teach how to see and create through drawing, painting and sculpture. We offer classes, workshops, exhibitions, and programs to engage, connect and bring people together with a fresh approach to traditional studio art. To learn more about WSS, visit

For more information, or to request images, please contact WSS Communications Manager, Rachael Bohlander at

WSS and this program are supported in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

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