Karin Davie: Liquid Life

Liquid Life: New Works on Paper
February 2 to March 17, 2012
Reception: Thursday, February 2nd, 6 to 8PM

James Harris Gallery is pleased to announce acclaimed artist Karin Davie’s first solo exhibition in the Northwest titled, Liquid Life, on view February 2nd through March 17th 2012. This New York and Seattle based artist continues to explore her interest in painting and the relationship between representation and abstraction especially its connection to the body.

“I view the performance of my body making the work a bit like a parody, where the paintings’ images mimic what it is that I have to do in order to make them. But each gesture individually functions like a visual onomatopoeia, where the physicality of the stroke imitates the thing it is describing. The viewers are invited to experience the work with their bodies vicariously through the language of scale and materiality, absorbing ideas about the concepts of inside and outside – private and public.” Interview for Karin Davie: Symptomania exhibition

In this small exhibition of works on paper, Davie’s fluid handling of paint pushes the relationship between image and process and the boundaries of the papers edge. The artist has physically altered the square sheets of paper with either a single thumb-like indentation or protuberance located on the bottom edge. Then she builds a growing pattern of overlapping brushstrokes working her way around the edges towards the center. The subtle alteration of the physical constraints informs the movement and rhythm of her bands of monochromatic color. Davie interrupts the action before reaching the center, leaving exposed the raw white paper and creating an opening or orifice. Her purposefully directed gesture creates an unusual visual resonance as layers of color, exposing how both positive and negative space echo back and forth. Davie’s psychologically charged image, transforms the abstract patterning into an organic virtually moving membrane. Through the obsessive brushwork and organic form, she imbues the work with intense movement and sensuality. At the core of the artist painting practice is her investigation between something that is physical and optical and “a common thread of instability and compressed energies as a way of making visible the nature of our perception and embodied experience of the world, where pleasure and vulnerability comingle in a coil of expansion and contraction.” Karin Davie: Underworlds text by Jan Allen.

This intimate show of three large-scale works Liquid Life no 1, 2 & 3 are installed in a panorama that envelops the viewer. Davie sees these new paintings on paper “as a kind of moving material or energy that plays with the idea of defining a space and the concept of the container versus the contained and the perception of the inside and the outside of something.” She describes them as looking “bodily, liquid and viscous and being an image of the irrepressible and the irrepressible image.”

Karin Davie was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1965 and attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario (BFA, 1987) and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island (MFA 1989). The Albright Knox Art Gallery organized a major survey and catalogue of her work in 2005. Davie has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre the Museum of Modern Art, White Cube and the Mary Boone Gallery. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently, the Seattle Art Museum has a painting of the artist’s on view.

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