San Francisco

Katherine Sherwood

In Katherine Sherwood’s newest body of work, the predominant theme is luck, examined in several of its most peculiar and intrinsically random forms. Set against a ground of paper glued onto canvas, signs and symbols of magic, gambling, and apocalypse reveal themselves gradually, almost coyly, with a little detective work. In many of these paintings, vaguely organic-looking figures and diagrams turn out to be “white magic seals of the spirits”: runes to which specific powers are ascribed. One confers wit and humor; another helps someone get ahead on the job, and a third grants peace of mind. Delicately brushed in black over pale, often luminous surfaces, these figures suggest a language lost over time, suppressed by a combination of religion and rationalism. Yet, as Sherwood intends to remind us, the once-upon-a-time world such symbols come from—in which the vast majority do whatever they

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