Three Minute Modernist podcast is on a break. Fear not, it's for a good reason. I'm launching Engineers & Enthusiasts, a podcast that's looking at the first decade of Computers in the Arts. This episode looks at the first Electronic Digital Computer in Australia, CSIRAC, and Geoff Hill's programming the machine to play music!
Kate Kelton's art has not matured in all the years I've watched it; it has coalesced into something new, as if a pearl has been coated again, but now in diamond dust. From the first pieces I encountered of hers, powerful semi-abstract works of portraiture and cityscape, to her recent works that explore the combination of structural adornment and portraiture, she has managed to never reinvent herself; this has been her all along, fully formed and merely waiting for the moment to arrive. Kate's recent work is a matter of expansion through contrast - she is as ephemeral as her subjects are concrete architecture; she is structural when her subjects should slip through your fingers like too-fine sand. Taken as a whole, the works in her magnificent series Sentry are incredibly intelligent, but when looked at individually, you come to understand that these are statements of life beyond themselves.
The series take embellishments of a Prague train station designed by her great-granfather, Josef Fanta, and combines these with portraits of women who have stood against the sexual harassment and assault rampant in Hollywood. These women, like Kate herself, have suffered in the era where powerful men, every bit as immovable as the train station, wielded their power without check. The portraits emblazoned on architectural elements, they are marked against the edifice, every bit as permanent, and perhaps even more defining.
If you approach those as portraits, you're taking the moment but missing the permanence. If you take them as statuary, you're missing the fact that they are, in fact, alive within those gazes. It's really incredible how much a shift of the light, a dart of the eye, can turn each of them from a memorial into a promise.
There is no image as powerful as that of Miro Sorvino, her hands at her mouth. Taken simply, she is thoughtful, perhaps calculating. I see more there. To me, Everything you need to know is in the uncertain weave of those hands. Her eyes, expressive, and perhaps a bit accusing. She is warm against the wall, though she is not merely a decoration; as some would dismiss her as; she is to stand as long as the building, as the structure, as the system that created it, and she is fully aware of it, and unflinchingly she approaches it. She appears to be emerging from the wall itself, perhaps an unintended adornment to remind us of the folly of the first hundred years of a dirty, damaging system.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.