Processing information, data and imagery that accumulates or is set aside from our dominant thinking forms our beliefs, opinions and behaviors. You stub your toe and for the next few hours or so you tread more carefully. You get a speeding ticket and the next time you’re on that particular road you drive more carefully. You stargaze one evening and experience one of the century’s greatest meteor showers, so you continue to look skyward every chance you get. Those very specific lessons both short term and long become bigger, more life changing if you fixate over them. That tendency to obsess, that hyper focus on the mundane to the miraculous is what leads to exceptional thought, creative foretelling and compelling art of modern and contemporary times.
Those same observational skill are evident in the work of the three artists in the current exhibition at New York’s Lichtundfire Gallery: Kathleen Elliot, Kaethe Kauffman and Bobbie Moline-Kramer. They demonstrate an artist’s mentality to extrapolate, to build outward while balancing mystery with clarity to project their personal visions. They all have very different concerns and obsessions, yet they all have the same level of passion to produce objects and images.
Right: Kathleen Elliot, Questionable Foods Glyphosate Corn (2017) glass and paper.
Kathleen Elliot is driven by the beauty of nature and man’s ability to distort, disrespect and redirect its fruitful functions with only monetary gains in mind. In the sculpture Glyphosate Corn (2017) we see, encased in a clear glass representation of an ear of corn, a Roundup label – an insidious reminder of what can be found in portions of our heavily sprayed and processed food supply. Glyphosate, which is the primary broad-spectrum herbicide found in Roundup, is a chemical considered to be carcinogenic by many including the World Health Organization, one that is touted by its manufacturer, Monsanto, to be biodegradable. In addition, genetically modified corn that is also sprayed with glyphosate is everywhere in processed foods including such products as Cheerios and Doritos. Furthermore, with works such as Questionable Foods #3 (2013), Elliot shows the absurdity and unnaturalness of processed food growing on beautifully made vine-like glass branches to show the contrast between an expressive interpretation of nature and the for-profit-first abuses of our food supply.
Left: Kaethe Kauffman, #23 Wrist, Black and White (2016), color photo collage.
Kaethe Kauffman’s stream of consciousness flows through thoughts of mind and body connections that culminate in an array of mysterious physical representations. Points of interest can fall anywhere on the human body from a toe to a knee or neck, yet all of these works have the same sort of awareness that there is a fine line between soulless suffering and comforting serenity. Viewer responses can fall anywhere between thoughts of bondage and domination to enlightened reality and meditative states and imaginings, yet we are always brought back to a state of mind through the body. In Neck 29 & 89 (2016) Kauffman brings in a sense of time and change with a distinct reference to age which shows both the reality of life and a consistence of mind/ body energy. We all have our own wants and desires when young, the challenge is maintaining our passion and our interest to discover and feel over the course of our life no matter what changes and where we live.
Right: Bobbie Moline-Kramer, WOWee (2018), poured paint, oil and acrylic on wood.
With her intimate mixed media paintings, Bobbie Moline-Kramer moves us from clear representation to non-objective art utilizing veils of transition and transcendence. We see in each piece, a symbolic conversion that varies in intensity and emotion depending on the expression of the previously painted portrait and the intensity of the ensuing abstraction. Upon close inspection, we become more engaged as the interactivity of the two schools of thought, which overlap, effect and heighten the eyes of the underlying faces. This ‘looking back at us’ makes the work somewhat interactive and engaging on a more personal level while the abstract element brings us pause. Sometimes with worry, other times with defiance and surprise, each of the embedded characters attempts to foil the transition with equally bold emotions that form a sort of delicate dance within the picture plane, while the colorful, sweeping abstractions overrun each of the painting’s surfaces. In the end, Moline-Kramer strikes a balance, a carefully constructed play between perception and pure imagination in the coalescing of two parallel and contrasting fields.
By D. Dominick Lombardi, Contributing Editor
“Parallel Fields,” the exhibition is currently on display at Lichtundfire Gallery in Manhattan. The exhibition ends July 1st.