Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kate Vrijmoet

Seattle-based painter Kate Vrijmoet is receiving local and international recognition for her remarkable and often unsettling body of work. She is currently in the midst of creating two wildly different series of paintings, which she titles "The Non-ordinary Reality Series," and "The Accident Series." The first are oil paintings of bodies as seen from under water. Vrijmoet uses colors, light effects and visual tricks with phenomenal precision, yet the images are completely disorienting. While the paintings are clearly scenes of men, women and children floating in bodies of water, it is very difficult to say how those bodies are positioned, whether they are alive or dead, where the light is coming from, or what, exactly, is happening. In short, these deceptively tranquil paintings make the viewer feel like she's drowning.

The Accident Series are dislocating in a completely different way. The almost expressionistic paintings show scenes of terrible accidents - "chainsaw accident" for example - and are created with an energy and fury that makes them almost painful to look at. For these paintings, Vrijmoet uses house paints on paper, creating splashing dripping imprecise images that cast a terrible spell. It's almost hard to believe that the two series were created in the same vicinity, let alone by the same artist.

A show of both series was mounted last February at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Seattle, and this month, Kate Vrijmoet: Essential Gestures, Part II inaugurates CoCA's newest location in Pioneer Square. In the interval between the two shows, Vrijmoet has won five important awards, including Third Prize in the Ecuador Biennale, and seen the publication of a 50-page catalog about her work.

The critic and teacher Elatia Harris recently posted an interview with Vrijmoet on the always riveting 3 Quarks Daily.


Anonymous said...

Love her work -- good article!

kate Vrijmoet said...

Thank you for taking a long, deep look at the work and writing about it so beautifully. Kind Regards.