PUNCH: Kalina Winters, Kat Richards, Lindsey Kircher
Gallery 5-50, Queens, New York
September 16 - October 18, 2020
By ALFRED ROSENBLUTH, October 14, 2020
Showing this month at 5-50 Gallery, an artist-run space, located in Long Island City, NY, is a 3-person exhibit of the works of Kalina Winters, Kat Richards and Lindsey Kircher. To fully appreciate Kalina Winters’ vivid imagery, it’s necessary to understand the influence of Edwin Abbot’s literary work, “Flatland”. In Abbot’s satirical critique of 19th Century England’s deeply stratified social structure, one’s station in life is dimensionally- bound; women, depicted as lines, occupy a social class below their 2-dimensional, polyhedral male counterparts. While only a single dimension above the solipsistic existence of being a single point in space, women nonetheless pose a threat to the status quo. Keeping this narrative in mind, we now approach Kalina’s work. Although the use of color is banned in Abbot’s Flatland, in Winters’, it abounds in rich waxy sheens of reds violets and yellows, carved in tones of colored pencil with the mechanical precision of a Victorian carpenter. Within this hallucinatory masonry, razor-thin laws separating ground and figure reconfigure to further maximize a paradoxical economy of space for the conceptually 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional. This consistency of her invented geometric grammar is indispensable to maintaining the order which frames the unlikely and absurd strivings of Winters’ sentient figurines in their pursuit of status. While it would be difficult to miss the influence of early 20th century Italian Futurism, the aesthetic sophistication of Winters’ works surpass the ideological limits of the former’s fascist predilections while utilizing the same draughting tools once available to Boccioni.
If Kalina Winters constructs a Feminist Futurism, one might see the bi-chromatic volumes of Kat Richards’ work as populating the realm of Queer Suprematism. Devoid of any single dominating shape or pigment, their printed volumes retain this ambiguity of identifying features while simultaneously composing both body and the environment, nipple and eye. To confront such a depiction would be unsettling were it not for Richards’ aesthetic literacy; while fans of Cronenberg (or the gender binary) could potentially regard the prospect of bodily rearrangement with conditioned anxiety, Richards effectively normalizes and aestheticizes possibilities of alternative embodiments and their myriad expressions. Bound to no certain trajectory, this amicable exchange and rearrangement of forms comprises the dominant activity in varying degrees of chaos and order within their landscape. The uniform and consistent ambiguity of forms affords Richards the freedom to harmonize their rich pinks and blues, greens and grey posed between states of rest. Kat’s vibrant and original optics of flux evidence that transition between fixities need not resolve to achieve completion and animate an inclusive Utopia.
The mythic narrative that takes shape at the edges of Kat Richards’ primordial world ripen into the dominant theme of Lindsey Kircher’s work. While her paintings project a welcoming familiarity, their portents bathe in the otherworldly; illuminated by light issuing from an otherwise occluded source when not directly from her figures’ hands. Hints of the numinous, in the form of immaterial butterflies passing through solid form or reflections of bulging beyond the confines of the water’s surface, dispels the remaining traces of the ordinary. Within this supernatural environment, Kircher depicts women who possess neolithic volumes that convey a sturdy resilience, reminiscent of Tamara de Lempicka. However, the self-possession of Kircher’s women is not projected through detachment; in fact, they absorb themselves in the experience of intimacy with self and other. In this conspicuous absence of male actors, it doesn’t occur to Kircher’s figures to consider they are even observed at all. Demonstrating a sensitivity to the balance of color with subtlety of expression, Kircher shares these moments of tangible vulnerability with the viewer in a way that escapes the subtle narcissism to which many of even the most well-intentioned acts of self-disclosure are immune.
As distinct bodies of work which demonstrate each artist’s ownership of their respective practices, when brought together, they communicate through a common ethos. This conversation, which will be taking place in Long Island City for the next month, is not an obvious one to initiate, but completely natural once commenced. The hum of Kalina Winters’, Kat Richards’, and Lindsey Kircher’s work collects a depth as one’s attention cycles through layers of the extra-personal, transpersonal, and interpersonal which imbue each body of work. If such a collective dynamic can be intuited through the confines of the internet, one wonders at the effects of its live amplitude. WM