Art and Music      


A Spritz of Absinthe
STEVEN GONTARSKI:  This is a painting by Kirsten Glass and is included in her current exhibition at xero, kline & coma London. The painting is mysterious, dreamy and a little bit spooky. A face emerges as though from a fairy tale mirror. Its horizontal positioning reminds me of an experience that my partner Rob and I had in our old flat. Recurring, inexplicable occurances convinced us that the house was haunted. One partiuclar night Rob woke up in a half-dream state to be looking right into the eyes of a glowing face looking back at him. He started screaming; it sounds scary and it was. Kirsten has always been able to enter that liminal space between awake and mid-dream in her painting. This atmosphere in her work makes me think of Symbolist painters of the 19th Century like Franz von Stuck and Gustave Moreau.  Never approaching pastiche, the resemblences occur in her themes, light and mood.

Xero, kline & coma is run by an artist collective called Pil and Galia, who told Kirsten, as they tell all the artists exhibiting in their space, that she was free to do absolutely anything she liked. The space isn't motivated by sales so the spirit of the gallery is fueled entirely by the artist's intention to make and show. This is a very refreshing attitude and a necessary alternative approach to the current art world driven by tastemaker gallerists, the bankability of superstars and the influence of uber wealthy collectors motivated by business investment and the acquisition of status objects rather than by the classical understanding of patronage which implies a personal connection and commitment to the development of an artist. It's a pity that artist-run spaces do very little for the financial security of artists, we all have to pay our rent afterall, but it is shifting the energy back towards community and giving us a level of control over the reception and flow of our work. This is essential now more than ever.

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'She covered the whole street, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, in vine leaves and rose leaves'. Photography courtesy of Kirsten Glass.

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