Critics’ Picks

View of “Allison Katz,” 2016.

View of “Allison Katz,” 2016.


Allison Katz

Gió Marconi
via Tadino 20
February 12–March 19, 2016

Canadian painter Allison Katz’s first solo show at Giò Marconi, titled “AKA,” is a postscript of sorts to “All Is On,” an exhibition of her work that first opened at the Kunstverein in Freiburg. Here, ten paintings, seven never shown before, appear in a gallery space that has been partitioned by three large triangles that block viewers from taking in the entire show at once. Meanwhile, seeking to underscore the perpetual question of whether color or line becomes the dominant driver of painting, Katz seemingly structures the exhibition as a palindrome, investigating these fundamental elements, the first as one proceeds through the show and the other as one exits.

Her imagination’s linguistic ideas and associations immediately focuses on color. Similarities emerge, as in the canvases Double Hunger, 2015, and AKA Beating Heart, 2016, which, in the manner of subjective film shots, guide a viewer’s gaze inside a mouth and inside a speeding car, respectively. In I, 2015, an egg painted on canvas perhaps represents an overcoming of literal horror vacui, and in Cave, 2014, rock paintings seem to come to life. In Rules, 2015, two transparent figures—a man wearing a tuxedo and a sacrificial Christ figure—intersect and seem to dance. For Katz, the gallery is a human body whose organs are a complex system of heterogeneous paintings that, whether evoking forms or labels, reveal a network of connections and inherent relationships.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.