Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Ali Miller & Nora Sturges
February 18- April 7, 2013
New Painting brings together three artists from the Washington D.C./Baltimore area; Katherine Mann, Ali Miller and Nora Sturges. These artists have been brought together not only due to their geographic proximity, but also their ingenuity and unique outlooks on painting. Lonsdale Gallery is pleased to exhibit these artists and to add their individual perspectives to the dialogue of painting in Toronto.
Katherine Mann’s paintings feature both highly-wrought, decorative elements as well as organic, chaotic forms, exposing the inherent paradox of the painting process. Mann starts each piece with stains of colour, products of chance and accident. These early forms provide the building blocks for complex networks of imagery, coaxing from this organic foundation the development of diverse, decorative forms: braids of hair, details from Beijing opera costuming, lattice-work, sequined patterns. Although founded in adornment, these elements are repeated until they too, appear organic, even cancerous… and they at once highlight and suffocate the underlying ink stained foundation.
Ali Miller uses paint to explore layered oblique narratives, each designed to imbue certain psychological states. Miller’s narratives are particularly saturated with notions of the ideal, as presented in fairy tales, fashion and architecture. Her overwhelming need to manipulate the real, manifests itself through her artistic process. Informed by elaborate theatrical costumes and scenery, Miller flattens complex melodramas into single scenarios that can be analysed and interpreted. The montage-like compositions, energetic rhythms and dream logic in the resulting paintings create a contemplative space for understanding the disparity between the real and its relation to the imagined.
Nora Sturges paints narrative landscapes in several evocative series. Her most recent work depicts a night fallen world of arctic ruin, where the vestiges of a human presence seem to lie vacant and forlorn upon the ice. In some cases one wonders which is the more recent arrival, the people or the ice? They convey a haunting sense of the precariousness of life on the edges of habitability. Sturges’ obsessively detailed brushwork, along with the intimate scale of her paintings, reinforce the quietude of these scenes.