“The grid is similar to a weft… I invite the viewer to walk inside the structures, like a garden they can traverse with their mind, leaving the choice to start where they want.”
DC Moore Gallery is pleased to present Lumens Anima, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Katia Santibañez. A catalogue with essay by Re’al Christian accompanies the exhibition.
Santibañez’s work teems with energy and utilizes fluid grid structures to examine the intricacies of organic forms. Prior visits to Rome, gazing upon Bernini sculptures and Baroque churches, followed by Barcelona in awe at Gaudi, and finally, her hometown in France with stained glass in St. Chapelle hypnotized Santibañez. The spirals, colors, and magnificence of these structures gave her an obsessive motivation to render light with a similarly rapt and vibrant effect.
Santibañez began this body of work in her studio in the Bronx which promptly changed in March 2020 when she left for Otis, Massachusetts where she currently resides. The forests around her contain oaks, hemlocks, pine trees, maples, birches, and ferns. During the winter, their barks bare, she saw their resemblance to the human form and the light glowing between the branches recalled to her the columns and stained-glass windows in European cathedrals. Santibañez also thought about the rise of climate change, forthcoming extinctions, and nature as an endangered sanctuary. The Delight of Solitude (2020) presents an array of watery blues seemingly emerging from behind a wall of darkened stems, evoking the tranquility and embrace of nature as stained glass, while Everywhere and Nowhere (2021) is a complex maze of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, the spectacle of light radiating outwards.
In other paintings, Santibañez harnesses the form of the spiral, which is a recurring motif in her work that she continues to build upon.
Patterned circular and angular forms swirl into a small vanishing point, with a push-and-pull of colors blending into and standing out from one another. For Santibañez, her spiral paintings are about cycles, repetitions, and abstractly the state of societal and ecological turmoil as within the spiral there are two different directions – upwards or downwards, growth or reduction.
“A tempest, a spiral, a shattered grid—for Santibañez, these motifs symbolize states of unrest, both internal and external. They embody her own process of coming to terms with our collective disharmony—with nature, with ourselves, and with one another.”
Katia Santibañez: Lumens Anima. DC Moore Gallery, 2021. Softcover catalogue with essay by Re'al Christian. 24 pages with color reproductions.