Allison Katz, Masking (Jest), 2021Nottingham Contemporary
Digital pigment print with paper collage on Hahnemuhle Rice Paper 100gsm and Somerset Photo Satin 300gsm
Size: 35.3 x 27.5cm
Edition of 25
Signed and numbered by the artist
To accompany the exhibition Allison Katz: 'Artery' (22 May - 31 October, 2021), the artist has made two special artists ’editions.
'Masking (Jest)' and 'Masking (Profile)', 2021, are created as prints, each overlaid with a delicate paper cut-out. This collaged element is inspired by the intricate and ephemeral Chinese paper cut outs, collected by the artist’s mother and given to her by her uncle after travels to China in the 1960’s. These cut outs, depicting characters from the Chinese Operatic tradition, were traditionally affixed to windows at festivals to adorn them, allowed to weather over time and fall off.
The title of each work is a play on the artist’s initials (Ms. Allison Sarah Katz - M.A.S.K.) and also the self-portrait - as projected persona or theatre. In a literal sense to mask is to layer over, masking tape; the material with which to stick it down.
The mask arrives onto the two background images, fluttering across the paper and alighting temporarily, finding itself suddenly part of a pre-existing landscape. For Katz, there is a sense of movement across motifs. The work embodies a feeling of transience - as on a stage, in a life, while constructing identity - that which can be taken on and off. These two prints, reproduced from recent drawings, already play with games of subjectivity. Noses, head-on or in profile, like masks, can be made to stand in as a surrogate for the whole, imagined identities are doodled or concealed by the edges of the page, a partial view, masked.
For more than a decade, Allison Katz has been exploring painting's relationship to questions of identity and expression, selfhood and voice. Animated by a restless sense of humour and curiosity, her works articulate a tricky language of recurring forms – roosters, monkeys and cabbages, among other things – that are by turns familiar and enigmatic. Katz's paintings, as well as her ceramics and posters, are frequently bodily (full of noses and gaping mouths) and relentlessly wordy, thick with puns and allusions. What emerges from these multi-layered works is a sustained and critical pursuit of what the artist has called “genuine ambiguity”.
If you have a question about this or any of our Artists' Editions, please contact the gallery directly here