Peeking inside Kim Krause's solo exhibition at the Art Academy's Pearlman Gallery, Chronos/Tropos, you see color before concept, "playful chaos" before mythology, imagination before history. But it's all there.
"My mentor in grad school used to say that the Furies were after him when he was having a bad day," Krause says while walking me through the exhibition. "That's when the Greek thing started."
Krause's painting "Erinyes" (or Furies) has the power of placement in the exhibition. Be careful -- it'll pull you in. The saturated green canvas owes its allure to the swirls of every color I can think of tangled in a graceful web of coils, tongues and ribbons spitting nails.
The Furies -- three goddesses of vengeance -- set out to punish society's crimes, relentlessly following and taunting perpetrators until the poor fools were driven mad.
Krause invited Cincinnati-based poet and novelist Stacy Sims to write the essay -- a smart, fresh prose-poem, "Time and Turning" -- for Chronos/Tropos.
She writes: "My dream daughter/ is furious with me/ She knows what I have done/ She knows what I cannot do/ She knows that I will fail her."
Indeed. Krause's painting is like every bad thing that clings to your conscious. That's also where the beauty comes from: You make a shitty choice because it was the glamorous thing to do. But wake up the next morning and reality doesn't seem so pretty.
Sims knows that part, too: "You would know straight away that it had been a damn good party because the camera would slowly reveal all the tell tale signs: demolished cake, empty liquor bottles, spent cigarettes in overflowing ashtrays, a streamer, limp, lying across a table like crime scene tape."
Krause's "Sirens" series is visually parallel to "Erinyes." Saturated color canvases, ribbons swirling downward. But in these paintings you'll also see shapes like sounds: funnels like gramophones, cords like soup-can telephones. The music of the sirens -- lovely, calling, ready to trap you in the sticky web of glamour and comeliness and eviscerate you.
"What underlies these paintings are awkward explorations of desire," Krause says, looking at the Sirens. "It's all a party until (your boat) hits the rocks."
"This is hard for me too," says the poet, taking the role of siren. This isn't ancient Greece, anyway. Let the lady speak: "And she will try to remember the names/ of the others/ because it is easier/ to recall conquests/ than to think about how/ she came to be/ in the first place or/ where her skin touched his or/ how come she had dared to imagine herself/ differently than her fate might allow."
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