Because I work in a representational mode there is an assumption about narrative, that the work is ‘about’ something, but that’s not what motivates me. Themes and motifs are generated by firstly, some form of experience, and then, a method of translation. By that point language and chance have extended the terms. I hold onto the impossibility of any of this being worthy of painting, because by doing so you hook into a voice, rather than a subject, and that’s what ends up making the decisions.
When you look at a painting, either your own or by someone else, made now or hundreds of years in the past, there is nothing stopping you (apart from the law) from carrying on with it. From picking up where the hand left off. You converse directly though a mark; it actually has the quality of a spoken word, because you can trace it in time and space.
That’s how I qualify the presence of works that move me. I feel as though I’m engaged in a private conversation, on intimate terms. This is for me an important way to consider questions of authenticity. It’s not about presenting an original or truthful self, or making a confession, it’s about tracing something in time that has a communicative weight of its own. (An interview with Frances Loeffler for The White Review, 2016)
Figurative paintings may offer an immediately legible image, but conceptually abstract narratives soon reveal themselves. The paintings of Allison Katz are built from individual
components we recognise, but the overall work deliberately holds back from full coherence, suggesting painting as a sophisticated unfolding game. (Martin Herbert, 2019)
Allison Katz was born in Montreal in 1980 and lives and works in London. She has exhibited extensively throughout the world, recently in solo shows at Antenna Space Shanghai, Gió Marconi Milan, and MIT List Visual Art Center in Boston, and in group exhibitions at Bonner Kunstverein, Palais de Tokyo, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Tate St Ives, Lisson Gallery, Metro Pictures, and is currently a part of the Hayward Touring show Slow Painting. A monograph will be published in March 2020 by JRP Ringier.
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