Allison Katz

Diary w/o Dates

Daniella Sanader
Oakville Galleries,Oakville January 21 — March 18, 2018 MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston May 18 — July 29, 2018
Allison Katz  Diary w/o Dates, installation view, Oakville Galleries, Centennial Square, 2018. Photo : Toni Hafkenscheid, courtesy of Oakville Galleries
Oakville Galleries,Oakville January 21 — March 18, 2018 MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston May 18 — July 29, 2018
Allison Katz
25 plates, details, 2017-2018.
Photo : Toni Hafkenscheid, courtesy of Oakville Galleries
[En anglais]
In Lydia Davis’s sparse yet densely articulated short story “Almost No Memory,” a woman is described as having “a very sharp consciousness but almost no memory.”1 1  - Lydia Davis, “Almost No Memory,” in The Collected Short Stories of Lydia Davis (New York: Picador, 2009): 259. She spends her spare time reading and writing in countless notebooks. Her notes are clever and thoughtful — written in increasingly tiny handwriting — and when she grows tired of reading books, she opens up one of her old notebooks to re-read. Given her lack of memory, sometimes these notes feel totally fresh to her, at other times they feel uncannily familiar, and often she will annotate old notes with new ones. Yet soon those memories have faded, and when she opens each notebook again, her cycle of thinking, reading, and writing begins anew.


Returning to Allison Katz’s exhibition Diary w/o Dates at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Boston, six months after spending time with the show at Oakville Galleries in Oakville, Ontario, I feel an affinity to Davis’s protagonist. Some imagery is recognizable, certain figures seem strange; I’m revisiting notes taken in early February and I’m writing on top of them. A suite of twelve paintings sits at the centre of this two-venue solo exhibition by the Canadian-born, London-based artist, yet their configurations couldn’t feel more different. Many depict women, nude or in loose tunics; some feature birds, rabbits, and other creatures. Yet each is distinct: with impossibly varied techniques and tonal qualities, each is a world unto itself, perhaps fresh notes taken on a different subject. At Oakville Galleries, the paintings were hung in the round on a twelve-sided structure in the centre of the gallery; it was impossible to catch more than three of them from a single point of view. At the List Visual Arts Center, they are arranged in linear fashion at the far end of the gallery, visible in full upon entering the otherwise empty space. Save for a uniformity of size, the connective threads between the works remain slippery and difficult to articulate.

You must be logged in to access this content.

Create your free profile to read the full text!

Register
This article also appears in the issue 95 - Empathy
Discover

Suggested Reading