Bridezilla: circus performer : out-of-control wedding : freak sideshow. Kristine Moran is an artist, not an analogist, but her paintings effectively relay the artifice and fancy of elaborate societal rituals. Moran’s latest solo show, Laugh Until My Teeth Fall Out, is on view through the end of the week at Nicelle Beauchene on New York’s Lower East Side. Read on for images and inside scoop from the artist.
Kristine Moran was born in Toronto, got her MFA from Hunter College, and works and resides in Brooklyn (DUMBO and Williamsburg, respectively). She’s also one of the least pretentious contemporary artists you’re likely to meet, explaining her affinity for painters that came before — Cy Twombly and his abstract, mythological Ferragosto series in the 1960s spring to mind — and wondering, “Am I allowed to be painting, considering the history of it?” We’d reply with a resounding affirmative.
“after the last dance” (2009), 66″ X 48″, oil on canvas.
For this body of work, which follows a master’s thesis based on a part animal, part human, part structural protagonist reacting to its realistic environment, Moran “expands her dialogue between abstraction and representation” through fantastical, colorful depictions of weddings and carnivals. “After the Last Dance,” one of the strongest images in Laugh Until My Teeth Fall Out, references a Mary Heilmann work with a similar title. According to critic Jan Voerwert, Heilmann’s “Save the Last Dance for Me” encapsulates the debate over the idea of painting after modernism — is the medium still relevant? Riffing on the same theme, Moran’s lush canvas is a psychological breakdown of the issue, asking whether Heilmann was essentially saving painting for herself, and what does happen after the last dance. In this case, the bride throws up her heels and consumes her own head shaped like a wedding cake. But that’s only if you’re feeling literal.
“consummated” (2009), 16″ X 20″, oil on panel, and “
merry go round broke down” (2009), 60″ X 72″, oil on canvas on panel.
Two other standouts in the exhibition are “Consummated,” all sweeping brushwork and Rococo color underscored by a slightly sinister narrative, and “Merry Go Round Broke Down,” a dystopic vision in which a white horse fills in as the knight in shining armor.
The exhibition is only open through Saturday, July 25, so scurry on down to Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, located at 163 Eldridge Street just north of Grand. Gallery hours are 12-6 p.m.