Dysgraphia: Katina Huston

Chase Young Gallery • Boston, MA • chaseyounggallery.com • October 6–31, 2017

By: Cerys Wilson

Occlusion 8369 5x5
Katina Huston, Occlusion Red, 2017, acrylic and oil paint on mylar, 24 x 24″.

Dysgraphia at Chase Young Gallery premieres Katina Huston’s Occlusions, a new body of work in oils and ink on acrylic. The series—from which Huston selected six works for exhibition—stems from the artist’s longstanding fascination with shadows; one which informs her creative process. Shining a light through objects —a bicycle, a fern, a glass—Huston then transfers the shadow onto her page in inks. Mirroring the passing sun, she repeats images to create movement across the page, as shadows dance and fade across a wall. The Occlusions are abstract variations of this idea, with one pattern seen through another pattern (an eclipse), woven through the series in changing colors. As with the nature of shadows, these two unique patterns cannot fully dissociate from one another, being always two halves of a whole.

The Occlusions first appeared in the margins of earlier Huston works, as colorful specters hiding in plain sight behind watery shadows. The forms found within the Occlusions—circles, grids—can also be found in the spokes of the bicycle wheels themselves: In one work from the series, thick horizontal and vertical stripes intersect red circles. In 2012, Chase Young Gallery exhibited Huston’s Goldberg Variations, with glasses arranged according to sheet music from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. In one work, Variatio 2 a 1 Clav #2, faint bicycle wheels seem to appear—the shadows of works past haunting works present, coexisting on the page, refusing to disappear.

Although the title Dysgraphia denotes Huston’s struggle to decode language (she is dyslexic), the pattern language she creates in the Occlusions is clearly an old friend. This makes for a more compelling exhibition when seen alongside past shadow works (two of which will hang in the gallery during the show). Huston, who trained as a sculptor, notes that “the interiors of the [shadow] forms are shaped more by the friction of materials clashing than by depicting what falls on the page.” This friction is particularly visible in the Occlusions, where watery-brown ink bubbles and swirls between thick strokes of oil paint. The two substances do not blend, but rather coexist.

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