The Mystic and the Cycad @ Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC
October 10 – November 10, 2013
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is delighted to present a show of new works by Kristine Moran. Central to the artist’s third solo exhibition of paintings at the gallery are moments of biotic, supernatural, and aesthetic metamorphosis iterated in the recursive elaboration of two salient figures: the mystic and the cycad.
The cycad comprisesany of various palmlike gymnospermous cone-bearing evergreen plants of the division Cycadophyta, native to tropical and subtropical regions and having large pinnately compound leaves.Among the earliest colonizers of terrestrial habitats, cycads predate palms and flowering plants by millions of years, and their individual lifespans are known to exceed a dozen centuries. Where endemic, they have come to emblematizeeternal life – manifesting a paradisiac counterpoint to flowers’ customary role invanitassymbolism. In these works, which activate painting as a complex narrative format, the cycad’s longevity is the subject of attempted cooption by the arcane figure of the mystic: a profoundly ambiguous, shape-shifting characterwhose hallucinatory rites, transmutations, and spirit-channelling stem from an unrelenting impulsion towards immortality.
Reconciling within her works a forceful entanglement between figuration and abstraction, frenetic perspectival shifts, biomorphic gestures, otherworldly hues, and jungly, atmospheric washes, the seemingly antithetic yearnings of Moran’s manifold aesthetic means coalesce into an exploratory painterly engagement with liminal states between forms of being. Suffused with art historical and personal encodings, the mystic’s navigation of the interstices between life and death is rendered throughout with an urgent and hallucinatory visual logic bounded by the rationalist backdrop of a greenhouse’s hard-edged armature.
Articulating equally through and in excess of its protean formal determinations, Moran’s depiction of the mystic’s techno-organic heterology, digital-aware optical saturation, and attempted harnessing of the cycad’s potency also suggests a timely concern with the contemporary bioprospecting of ancient botanical knowledge. As such, her works wend their allegorical trajectories through the critical conflicts splayed like spreading fronds across today’s ecopolitical and bioethics faultlines.Here, painting is affirmed not only as an act of invocation – in its reconstitution of the immaterial in facture – but also as a potential mechanism for resistant aesthetic and political energies.
Kristine Moran (b. Montreal, Canada; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) received her MFA from Hunter College in 2008. She has shown internationally with exhibitions at Monica De Cardenas Gallery, Milan; Clark & Faria, Toronto; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; and Western Exhibitions, Chicago. Her work has been the subject of extensive coverage in numerous contemporary arts periodicals and is featured in the recent Phaidon publicationVitamin P2.