Affairs and Ceremonies: The New Work of Kristine Moran

Exhibition Review by Randy Gladman

Sometimes you can’t explain why you love an artist’s work.  Most people never have to actually do this but because I am a sometime art critic and represent myself as something of an informed and more-than-casual viewer, it’s not uncommon that I get pressed to answer why I think this is good and that is anything but.  Usually I can concoct convincing answers.  I studied contemporary art criticism, after all, and have an impressive degree stuffed in a box somewhere in my basement.  I get to publish my ideas about art online and even in ink every now and then.  Add in my generally opinionated and outspoken personality, some facility with art babble, and a desire to convince people to appreciate the things I value, and I can usually craft a logical argument that at least attempts to encourage, persuade, and cajole a sympathetic opinion about a painting, photo, or installation.  Some people are perhaps convinced though I suspect many think I’m full of hot air.

When it comes to the work of Kristine Moran, I find myself at a loss of effective words to explain why I think it is so totally awesome.  This might be why this ostensible review of Affairs and Ceremonies, her wonderful current exhibit of new works at Daniel Faria Gallery in Toronto, is turning out to be so much more about myself rather than about her fresh, innovative, and gorgeous paintings.

I mean, I could write about how this Brooklyn artist graduated with her MFA from Hunter College in New York City in 2008 and has since had a series of annual solo exhibitions at exciting young galleries like Mr. Faria’s.  Or I could try to delineate how she never sits still aesthetically and takes viewers into totally new realms with each subsequent body of thoughtful and painstakingly considered work.  I could even try to provide a formal dissertation on her brilliantly controlled yet somehow simultaneously loose and adventurous brushstrokes, colour palettes, and abstract compositions.  But none of those efforts would effectively answer the question of why I believe her work is so imperative, tenacious, and epochal.  These words wouldn’t reveal the motivation behind my desire to live my life in the presence of her emotionally engaging and dominating canvases.   And they certainly wouldn’t sufficiently convince you of the majesty missing from your life if you have never seen these things in person.

So I’m not even going to try to tell you that this show is the most adventurous exhibit of paintings in Toronto all year.  I won’t waste any of your precious time advising you that this is one of those rare moments sophisticated collectors watch for where a young artist rises from “promising” and “emerging” to “relevant”, “mature”, and “arrived”.  And I definitely promise not to write an article gushing about why I love Kristine Moran’s new work.

I just can’t do it.

Kristine Moran:  Affairs and Ceremonies
November 13, 2014 – January 10, 2015
Daniel Faria Gallery
188 St. Helens Avenue
Toronto, ON

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