Artist: Allison Katz
Venue: The Approach, London
Exhibition Title: We boil at different degrees
Date: September 17 – October 23, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London
The work of Allison Katz reflects a painting sensibility defined by flux, discretion and interrogation. For her first solo exhibition with The Approach, Katz puts emphasis on the physicality and psychology of scale, a crucial point of communication within painting’s constraints. Structuring the overall display, and embedded within the content of each work, she teases the balance between micro and macro in successive terms. Building on the ways in which style, myth and language – both oral and written – link timeless imagery to the present moment, Katz spirals through a chain of associations. Questions pierce her imagery and choice of technique: scale versus size, levels of simultaneity, surface disruption as a game of taste, touch, and naming. Personal symbology is interwoven with lore, and her recent interest in the expired, arcane world of fairies and other figures beyond the human is one way of relating the instinct for the immaterial with cerebral invention.
Minas Gerais, Brazil, September 17, 2014. The road that soaks up disbelief, and GPS. Led astray, not by anything remarkable, just the satellite, up in space, getting it wrong. Into a mine. A soldier and a dog get curious; it’s dark, and we are not local, in a rented Fiat all wrong for the country. The road is red with iron ore, and looks sore, exposed. Later that night undressing in the nun-like hotel room, 3 single-beds in a row, each of us would find our underwear covered in red dust, even though we had the windows rolled up most of the time. “Do you realise you have driven into a mine?” The guard pushes his head into the car. Well of course not. “We’ll turn back.” “Yes you will.” He holds his gun. No problem. Retrace with wheels the tracks when the cows suddenly flared up in our headlights – clustered on the tufted grass island in the middle of the road, like a Dutch painting.
Devon, May 19, 2016. How to describe the drive that changes with every minute? It begins fairly easily but once we wind up into the moors and the fog descends it gets spooky. The gorse goes in and out of focus, and the suicidal drops on either side of the slim road haunt with unpredictable twists. Is this all redeemed by a pack of wild horses that come into view? I beg P to pull over and roll down the window, so I can take a few pictures, at which point rain whips up and sprays us like a close hose. I can’t get anything worthy of sharing, just a few shots of misshapen blobs on the blowy horizon – but who’s gonna believe wild horses without proof? Off we go back over the sublime – i.e. terrifying – moors, which are breathtaking, as in, yes literally taking our breath away as we – without warning – must force the car to ascend a hill so steep there is a sign NO CARAVANS with some indecipherable percentage rate at which the incline sharply appears (out of nowhere) too late. We make it up and its riveting, P’s got two hands on the wheel for the first time in weeks, and Terrence Stamp is on Desert Island Discs in the background describing his endless hair in India and how he dropped out after being dropped (rather from a height like these cliffs) by the very same industry that touted him Sexiest Man Alive. The ups and downs of T. Stamp’s life seem to mirror the pulverising roads we keep having to battle – no amount of “escape routes” signed on the descent can reassure us – until finally we slide into some village at the base, waves crashing into rocks, palm trees and painted windows, just as Hendrix is pick number (6 or 7?) and yes we feel experienced.
London, July 21, 2016. Late morning – fairy hunting last night with five-year-olds Frida, Flo and B – and perhaps I overdid it on the trampoline and using the tiny candle on a spade to look for fairies inside the leaves – when everyone else (adults) were clustered around Frida’s father, the booming orator-TV-actor C, who has the hectic though quite mesmerising party trick of being able to remember word for word the script of every commercial he has ever voiced over – beer, detergent, betting – sending everyone into spasms by replaying it on demand, in that deep, fast disembodied voice – which is uncanny when heard coming out of an actual body. Flo ingeniously spotted “sparkles” (what looked wholly like Montale’s “nacreous trace”) only on certain corners of stems and petals and veg, so that it would appear a presence had been there – Frida saw the goo as the fairies themselves, while Flo was more doubtful – she later decided it was their “dust” they left behind en route…
Our temperaments differ in capacity of heat, or we boil at different degrees.
(Emerson, “Eloquence,” Society and Solitude.)
Allison Katz (b. 1980, Montreal, Canada) is currently based in London, UK. Solos presentations in 2015 – 2106 include All Is On, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany, Week 47 of fig-2 at the ICA Studio, London, AKA, Gió Marconi, Milan and the Independent Fair in New York with The Approach. Recent collaborations include shelf paintings with Fredrik Vaerslev for his All Around Amateur at Bergen Kunsthall and Le Consortium Dijon; and an ongoing project with DAS INSTITUT that was presented in stages within DAS INSTITUT, The Serpentine (2016), Dredgers on the Rail, Freedman Fitzpatrick, LA and Off Cardinal Points, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin (2015.) Her work has been featured on the cover of Frieze, CURA and Metropolis M magazines, in addition to articles and interviews in Art in America, The White Review, Border Crossings and BOMB.