We are thrilled to announce Katy Moran's first solo exhibition at
Andrea Rosen Gallery, and to welcome such a dedicated painter to the
gallery's program. For her exhibition, Moran will present new,
characteristically small yet riveting paintings.
Disarmingly eloquent in mood and evasive in subject, Moran's paintings hover between abstraction and representation. While they appear to be clearly abstract, they also have a powerful effect on the viewer to seek out an image within the paint, whether that image is a reference to an art historical moment or another source. They have a personal quality that is evoked but never spelled out for us. Part of the phenomena of Moran's work is that it sends us on a daunting search and often there is a deliberate tension between the work's materiality and its subject. In truth, there is a core reason and that is because Moran used images culled from; the internet, design magazines and snapshots she has taken on the street as source inspiration. Moran begins with an image and weaves it together with other references to create an entirely new image/non-image. Content is embedded within the layers of paint, disguising the subject and releasing the paint from any attachment to the figurative. The end result is neither planned nor is it forced. Even more fascinating is that a work is finished only when Moran can herself identify a figurative element in the paint: the shapes, composition, colors together form a completed work. The paintings carry with them the aura of art history as well the intensity of Moran's physical process of painting, a process of reduction and abstraction that results in a state, experience or sensation.
What liberates Moran and rivals the need for the figurative is her deep dedication to the material itself: her commitment to the paint. She works on canvases upside down, relying on the paint and on her brushstroke to guide her through the process even allowing for accidents to occur. Appearing almost as fragmented images as clues to some unknowable source, she seduces and at times frustrates the viewer. Her paintings are constellations of personal references-titles such as "Heathcliffe" and "Wasabi without Tears" simultaneously allude to experiences and leave us with an intense desire to form a narrative. So the paintings offer themselves up at the same time as resisting the viewer. Ultimately, we are left to grapple with and thoroughly relish in the formal construction of Moran's work.
Katy Moran was born in 1975 in Great Britain. She studied at the Royal College of Art, where she was part of the highly regarded painting MA program. Her work is currently featured in "Strange Solution" at Tate Britain, a group exhibition that will remain on view through April 13th.