Rebecca Lidert, director of the CNB Gallery, is pleased to announce ‘Persephone, Queen of the Underworld’, an exhibition by Kirsten Glass.
In this new series of paintings, all from 2014, Kirsten has used a reduced palette and a compass drawn pattern borrowed from sacred geometry. Through the layered drawing and painting process, the ‘Flowers of life’ pattern, endlessly repeatable and producing a multiplicity of possible transformations becomes variously a veil, setting, grid, flow or form.
When the pattern becomes a setting, pictorial elements such as a recurring bird or indexical tracings from life (often her own hands or silhouettes of visitors to the studio) can enter the work. In the Visitors series, Kirsten shines a projector lamp on visitors to her studio and traces their shadows, working on them later in private, recalling the myth of the first drawing, that of the Corinthian maid who traces her lover’s shadow on the lamp-lit wall before he leaves her.
Kirsten regularly works overnight at her studio so that she can escape from daytime distractions and feel immersed differently. These work sessions allow the logic of the geometry to unwind into an abstract negotiation, to approach an unpredictable in-between state that holds and simultaneously withholds narrative.
‘I feed the paintings this ritual geometry and I kind of dream into them until they begin to transform into something I didn’t design. I’m interested in feeling the pulse or vibration and atmosphere of a painting, so feeling its presence, and I imagine the surfaces as screens or veils or interfaces between you and something beyond a message or verbally expressible meaning. I think Painting is good at that.’
‘They’re very female paintings. They’re libidinal and female and made between something sexual and something metaphysical. In this way they are love paintings.’
The show’s title, ‘Persephone, Queen of the Underworld’, characterizes the work’s imagined retreat into an underworld, a psychic space where the cyclical processes of withdrawal and fertility take place.
For the opening night of the exhibition, Bea Bonnifini and Paola De Ramos will create at Kirsten’s request the original cannibal dinner will be reinvented for this occasion, using the mythological story of Tantalus as a starting point. Having horrified the gods by serving up his own son at a cannibal feast, Tantalus is sent to the Underworld for eternity, where his punishment is to stand beneath a fruit tree in a pool of water. When he reaches upwards for the fruit, the tree withdraws; as he bends to drink, the water recedes. Bonnifini and De Ramos will reimagine this image of endless desire in collaboration with the chefs at Hix. Fluids, energy, guts, sensations, emotions and flavours will be shared throughout the evening.