Friday, June 8, 2012

still-sound 73. A spritz of absinthe

I love this painting.  My best friend Kirsten Glass painted it and included it in the exhibition she just installed at the xero, kline & coma gallery in London.  She titled the show A Spritz of Absinthe.

It's mysterious, dreamy and a little bit spooky.  A face emerges as though from a fairy tale mirror.  Its horizontal positioning reminds me of an experience Rob had in our old flat in London.  Recurring, inexplicable occurances convinced us that the house was haunted.  One night Rob woke up in a half-dream state to be looking right into the eyes of a glowing face looking back at him.  He started screaming.  It sounds scary and it was.

Kirsten has always been able to enter that liminal space between awake and dreaming in her painting.

The atmosphere of her work makes me think of Symbolist painters of the 19th Century.  Never approaching pastiche, the resemblences occur in the themes, light and mood.  Here's a painting by Franz von Stuck:

Here's a detail of a painting by Gustave Moreau.  It's an apparition of the floating head of John the Baptist.

I would love to see Kirsten's show in person. Pil and Galia, the two very interesting artists who run the gallery told Kirsten, as they tell all the artists exhibiting in their space, that she was free to do absolutely anything she liked.  The space isn't motivated by sales so the spirit of the gallery is fuelled entirely by the artist's intention to make and show.

The invitation to A Spritz of Absinthe

This is a very refreshing attitude and a necessary alternative approach to the current art world driven by tastemaker gallerists, the bankability of superstars and the influence of uber wealthy collectors motivated by business investment and the acquisition of status objects rather than by the classical understanding of patronage which implies a personal connection and commitment to the development of an artist.  It's a pity that artist-run spaces do very little for the financial security of artists, we all have to pay our rent, but it's shifting the energy back towards community and giving us a level of control over the reception and flow of our work.  This is essential now more than ever.

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