Allison Katz, Allison Katz

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This first comprehensive monograph encompasses the manifold painterly practice of Canadian London-based artist Allison Katz (b. 1980).

Primarily a painter, Katz challenges this classic medium par excellence through the diversity of her imagery, an eclectic range of references, the here-and-nowness of her brushstroke’s trace, and the site-specificity of paintings designed to occupy a particular space. As Katz explains

“I think I paint like I write, that is, I build around quotes, which is a conversation, in effect. It’s a way to bring the world in, as much as it is about getting an inner world out. Painting is for me one of the only actions where this interface exists.” 

Avoiding narrative or continuity, the artist instead approaches each canvas anew, taking on different personas, and sometimes forcing opposing tastes to coexist uncomfortably within a single tableau. Motifs do reappear—black pears, strawberries, monkeys, noses, silhouettes, roosters, clocks—but less as representations or signatures, and more as a visual (and bold) lexicon which allows her to expand and distort their meanings in an ongoing meditation on the nature of representation and the elasticity of symbols. Marked by skillful improvisation, her painting is often described as exuding a playful wittiness, or “joie d’esprit.”

Gathering together Katz’s successive bodies of works since the beginning of the 2010s, this monograph includes essays by Oakville Galleries director Frances Loeffler, British writer and critic Brian Dillon, Canadian poet Lisa Robertson, and The List Visual Arts Center Associate Curator Yuri Stone.

JRP Editions, 2020
Hardcover, 192 pages