Allison Katz’s painterly language derives from a curiosity about the everyday, an irreverent wit, and a virtuosic grasp of the properties of her materials. Katz describes her work in relation to “voice” – as she says, “a more apt qualifier for terms like sensibility, style, temper, because it implies dialogue, exchange, and influence.” Katz draws from a diverse array of references, blurring calcified distinctions associated with painting in art history. Katz’s new works for The Milk of Dreams (all 2022) draw on clichés associated with the city of Venice: Birth Canal depicts a canal in Montreal – Katz’s birth city – as a substitute for Venice’s famous waterways. In Milk glass, two octopuses made in Venetian Murano glass are reflected across the canvas. Titled with a near-homonym of “Venice,” Be nice shows a truce between two fighting cocks, referring to the city’s historical importance at the intersection of finance and the arts. Night Philosophy simultaneously references William Blake’s depiction of the biblical king Nebuchadnezzar and Edgar Degas’ painting Young Spartans (c. 1860), which shows a group of teenage wrestlers. Portrait of the artist as a young girl(s) is sourced from a multiple-exposure photograph of Katz as a child that incidentally evokes both Little Red Riding Hood and the elusive central character in the Venice-set horror thriller Don’t Look Now. Together, these works present an auto-fictional and psychologically charged index of motifs.
Madeline Weisburg & Ian Wallace