Review: The Choreography of Painting
The Choreography of Painting, Kristy Kristinek’s graduate MFA thesis show (displayed in the CASP 5&J space of downtown Lubbock) is an exciting vision, featuring two major bodies of work, painting and performance, in the large space. Upon walking into the gallery, I am immediately drawn to the fabric monotypes suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the room. The marks on these silky sheets are faded, incomplete, suggesting a kind of residue of an earlier mark, also present in the paintings, which are in intervals along the walls. The fabrics drag the floor, the substrate having a movement of its own, a thin coat of powder spread beneath them. Walking through the modestly-lit room, my attention is soon drawn to the set of large paintings spaced evenly along the walls, simply titled “Phrases” and number 1 through 8. In viewing each piece, the progression is certain, with shifting circular marks, pulsating black and white energies, and swelling pockets of texture and pools of flesh tones that move in and out of focus. The use of spray foam (like that of Dan Lam, but less “pretty”), within the paint, creates a gritty texture that seems to be escaping out of the central circular region. The works are anatomical, and also ethereal, resembling a topographical view, a macro-micro dynamic. Each surface is almost identical in material use, but executed with a variety of gestures. Even the canvas has authority of its own, exposing a periodic seam through the substrate—a reference to pause or pulsation. Up close and from a distance, they unfold in a beautiful harmony of abstraction, movement, and control.
What was most captivating about Kristinek’s show was her ability to transform the two-dimensional movement of paint into an experience for the viewer through dance. In collaboration with Flatlands Dance Theatre, three performances were staged inside the space in conjunction with the paintings and monotypes. The dance, set to Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar: Motion Picture Soundtrack, is another transformation of the paint into movement, re-enacted in a dramatic fusion of bodies, and objects. As the dancers move to the center of the room, they focus on a set of movements – clapping, circular arm motions, swaying, each moment traced onto the floor by the powder spread beneath their feet. The dancers are never vying with the works in the space; they are one with them, mimicking their gestures and even interacting with the monotypes hanging between them. The viewer never questions which is more important—the painting and the dancers coexist.
Images courtesy of Kristen Swartz and Daniela Ettedgui