Allison Katz

born 1980

Allison Katz is a Canadian artist living in London. In her painting, she experiments with the idea of representation and our habit of searching for meaning in a given image. Her figurative compositions are based on an intuitive play of associations, as a result of which the viewer is confronted with a sequence of loosely connected meanings instead of a specific sense or reference. Working on a particular image, Katz often begins with language. She is particularly interested in its manifestations that escape a rigid structure —such as language errors, puns and riddles, rhymes or slang, but also literature — because in them, the mismatch between a word and its designator, the abstraction and imagined sense, is the most palpable. Katz translates this incongruity into the language of painting. The artist is also interested in the problem of representation at the level of individual gestures: she consciously did not develop a particular, characteristic style. Her paintings often contain elements belonging to different orders — sometimes they are illusory, sometimes decorative, expressive, mannerist, figurative, or abstract. The painting ‘Wheaty’ presented at the exhibition comes from the series entitled ‘Diary w/o Dates’ that consists of twelve large-format paintings. The starting point was a reflection on the structure of the calendar and how the abstract names of months can become the beginning of an image — a visual imagining that not only represents but also generates a game of meanings. ‘Wheaty’ depicts July and was created as the first element in the series. Katz asks what would happen to the notion of a journal if it were deprived of its structure, and also when its confessional character (usually attributed to women) would be replaced by a loose play of imagination.

Show description