whitehot | Virginia Katz at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Los Angeles
Virginia Katz, Mud - Asia, 2010-2011
Virginia Katz: Charted Territories
Ruth Bachofner Gallery
June 11 - July 16, 2011
Virginia Katz is more than an artist. I also think of her as a geologist, geographer, oceanographer, astronomer, metaphysical naturalist and someone who looks at her subject matter from an extraordinary perspective, not unlike an astronaut looking down from space. And although this might sound exaggerated, the truth is, Katz observes the world as carefully as an explorer, keeping track of all the details and changes she perceives. The New York-born Katz, who studied philosophy as an undergraduate and later won an award and a scholarship for the arts before getting her MFA at the California State University Long Beach, has a unique talent for bringing art and science together.
Her recent exhibit Charted Territories at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, included 10 mixed media and five oil paintings from a series of nonrepresentational works inspired by satellite and aerial images, some of which were made using a complex procedure combining two different printmaking processes -- monoprint and collagraph. She glues crinkled up foil on a plate and drips colored inks on it, before running the shallow reliefs through a press. As soon as the print dries, Katz then uses her colored pencils, pastels, gouaches and dry pigments and starts drawing and painting terrains, creases, cracks and vapor. Other than in her Formation Series, in Path 2010, created during Katz’s residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the artist also integrated leaves, vines, bark and local water. The work is a combination of mixed media and oil on paper with a dominant area in a solid turquoise, broken up with small areas in gold and medium size areas in brown-greenish hues.
Virginia Katz Path - Swell, 2010
Formations – White Melt – White, 2010, a dominantly pastel-colored piece in two parts, with one vertical and one horizontal rectangle, displayed closely next to each other was created after Katz’s observation of “man’s noticeable interaction with land in the form of agricultural clearings and delineations – patterns or traces that can be observed across the globe." Katz’s “Mud” series, in which she wanted to work with the physical volume of the earth, are strictly made of thick oil paint, which she laid down on panel and then carved into. Mud NE (Northeast), 2010-2011, represents the soil colors of the Northeastern part of the United States, where the artist was born and raised. Therefore they contain mossy, deep rich greens from all of the water and densely forested landscape. Mud – Asia, 2010-2011 was the color of earth the artist observed during a trip to China, “a yellow, green combination from loessial soils of that region,” she said.
Overall the exhibit was a pleasure to the eyes and offered viewers microscopic close-ups of both real and recreated elements of nature and the vast distances between orbit and earth.
Virginia Katz, Formations - White Melt - White Freeze, 2010
Virginia Katz, Formations - Dissections, 2010
Simone Kussatz is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She has written numerous articles in the field of the arts for international and national magazines published in Germany, the US and UK, China, Iceland, and Switzerland. Kussatz was born in Asperg, Germany. She holds a Master's degree in American Studies, journalism and psychology and received her education from Santa Monica College, UCLA and the Free University of Berlin. In 2004, she produced and hosted three TV-shows under the title "Metamorphosis", where she conducted interviews with Jewish artists in regard to the Holocaust. Kussatz has also worked in theater in the position of stage supervisor and manager in the plays “Talley’s Folly” and “The Immigrant.” She has taught English as a Second Language and served at Xiamen University in China, as well as EC Language Center in London.
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