I’m always trying to find a feeling. Sometimes I try to find the same feeling again and again in different paintings, sometimes it is a different feeling.
When my husband was sick and I was angry about it, I would try to find a feeling of rage and fear and adrenaline, the kind of power you get from a crisis, when your world sharpens into a clear path of necessity and everything else fades away. I tried to replicate that feeling in paintings, the white-hot power burning in my chest. I guess I wanted to see it outside of me. But it’s a delicate thing. You can’t make a painting feel like something just by pushing a feeling onto it-you have to remake it, somehow, with different pieces, different actors, like restaging a play.
It has language and cadence and rhythm, a set, and actors in their places. They can’t speak all at once or too fast or too slow, the light can’t be too bright or too dark to see. Or if it is too bright or too dark, that is a choice you have to make, in balance with the rest of your choices, to get the right feeling. I actually feel the feeling in my stomach when I think about it consciously – no matter what it is, it sits there, the way a good last line in a poem hits your stomach with a thump, makes you stop breathing for a few seconds. It’s there all the time, quiet, waiting to be noticed. It’s strangely physical.
In Katelyn’s paintings, the mood is both serene and sinister, with the inescapable sense of something about to happen or having just happened, the dread and potential. The landscapes are potentially disastrous premonitions, but the use of soft, beautifully rendered colours and surfaces, create a contrast, a vaporous veil through which we are pulled in to look closer…odes to nature, to our loss of control over the larger world.
Katelyn Eichwald (b. 1987) lives and works in Chicago, USA. She received a BFA from the University of Illinois, Champaign (2009) and an MFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2012). Her work has been included in exhibitions at Fortnight Institute, New York; Celaya Brothers Gallery & Et. al, Mexico City; and Zero Zero LA, Los Angeles. Katelyn was the winner of the Barclay Simpson award at California College of the Arts (2012). She is represented in the USA by Fortnight Institute, New York.
Katelyn’s inaugural solo exhibition is upcoming at ReadingRoom, Melbourne in October, 2021.
With thanks to Katelyn Eichwald, Fabiola Alondra and Jane Harmon.
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