Artist: Allison Katz
Venue: MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge
Exhibition Title: Diary w/o Dates
Date: May 18 – July 29, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge
The MIT List Visual Arts Center presents Diary w/o Dates, the first solo
exhibition in the US by Canadian-born, London-based artist Allison Katz. Diary w/o Dates is a suite of twelve paintings that construct a mythical present. Katz warps the organizing principles of time, her paintings simultaneously calling to the past and proposing the future. This body of work comes out of parallels she sees between the grid of the calendar and the grid of the canvas, exploring the structured intervals of time and the physical constraints of the painting surface.
In this recent work, Katz plays with self-portraiture, negotiating memory and projection in figurative painting. In doing so, she complicates the viewer’s relationship to the narrator and how a diaristic premise functions in relation to belief and doubt. For Katz, content is generated from all corners of life: family, history, the city, nature, the body, the mask, the mirror. She draws from yet also resists the traditions of self-representation—attune to the gendered implications of the female voice and the emotional charge often cast onto a female painter’s output. Her work refuses both formal and factual coherence, opting for competing painting styles, opposing tones in color and character, and visual non-sequiturs across a single body of work. Continually pitting the history of Western painting against the reality of a moment, she embraces the complex, absurd, and contradictory nature of making paintings today.
At the List Center, Katz presents a singular installation stretching the length of the Hayden Gallery. The twelve paintings are immediately visible but not singularly distinguished, asking viewers to walk the gallery’s entire ninety-three feet span to engage each painting individually. The installation instigates an exercise in perspective. Pacing left and right and back and forth, the encounter with Diary w/o Dates criss-crosses between opticality and physicality, breadth and depth, distance and intimacy. Katz’s engagement with time is underscored as well by the Hayden Gallery’s imposing floor-bound window. The window, containing its own changing pictorial composition, interrupts the suite of paintings and posits a final opposition: between the ephemerality of the natural world and the finality of the artist’s mark.
Diary w/o Dates was first exhibited at Oakville Galleries, Ontario in the winter of 2018. There, the suite of paintings were presented “in the round” on the exterior walls of a 12-sided structure, in the order of a calendar year. For Katz, the installation of her work seeks to extend the conceptual premise of a series. Upending the logic of the exhibition in Oakville, the presentation at the List Center unfurls the previous circular, clock-like installation. While installed in a seemingly linear sequence, Katz hangs the paintings out of order, echoing the irrational (dis)order in which we apprehend our own personal histories, drives,
Allison Katz (b. 1980, Canada; lives and works in London) has mounted solo exhibitions at the ICA Studio in London (2015) and the Kunstverein Freiburg, Denmark (2015). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Tate St. Ives, Cornwall, UK (2017), South London Gallery, UK (2014) and SculptureCenter, New York (2014) in addition to recent collaborations with DAS INSTITUT at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2016) and Fredrik Vaerslev at Bergen Kunsthall, Norway and Le Consortium, France (2016-2017).
Allison Katz: Diary w/o Dates is curated by Yuri Stone, Assistant Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Oakville Galleries, Ontario.