3+1 Conteporary Art, 4 Mar – 23 Apr 2011, Lisbon
Press release
Historically, figurative painting often conveys a literal mise en scene, presenting the audience with a documentary esque path for immediate interpretation. Daniela Krtsch´s uses this figuration device in her oil paintings, however prefers to focus on an individual subject. In Overtime, Krtsch presents us with figures emerging from backgrounds devoid of reference, inviting us to centre our attention on these ambiguous subjects allowing free interpretation.

Memory plays a key role in Krtsch´s practice and in representing the various subjects, and how we determine whether they were created by experience, reverie or by a composite of both. Previous bodies of work explore this theme as an interpretative tool for how we relate and respond to everyday situations. In the Rememberance (2009) series we were exposed to photo sized paintings referring to found and actual family photographs. The curious intimate portraits demonstrated the parallels within unknown family albums, the backgrounds again obscured, as she points out often the backgrounds serve only as a reference to time and place, however they are often blurred from the camera´s, a kin to how our memories record information. In the other series the compositions also dealt with the relationship between the surrounding environments, oscillating from foreground and background, the latter of less significance.

The works in Overtime differ in scale perhaps as a metaphor for the clarity and significance of certain memories. Together with the varying canvas sizes, the painting style is a combination of all her previous styles, here we see detailed application with gentle gestural and feather-like strokes, again enforcing the ambiguous nature of the subjects as though they could shift and metamorphoses into a contrary form. As within the works of Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans whose works refer to photographic images, transform and subvert the original content by their unique understanding and use of paint.

Overtime is relates to this process of mental retention; how we absorb information, record, digress, extend our minds and pass the time.  Again our memory plays an important part in all of these functions, often finding ambiguity in the comprehension and interpretations of daily situations. Krtsch paintings play with this uncertainty, such as in her painting of the Ferris wheel; “a structure which is usually associated with happy times while in the same instance can presents fear for some joyriders once at the top” notes Krtsch. This also can be said for works depicting the masked figure; dually evoking party situations and in turn hiding oneself, the deer; is it grazing? or under being hunted?

Although some of the works have a melancholy air to them such as the boy, rabbit and the bruised shoulder, there is a light-heartedness to them also, a tranquil beauty, again the context doesn´t resign to the fate of its subject however is reserved for the viewer to decide. In comparison Krtsch presents fanciful scenarios such as a paper plane or a hand holding a miniature whale, again leaving interpretation open.

Krtsch´s ambivalence regarding the seemingly ominous works prefers us to determine the history and circumstances of her compositions, stating that not only does the phemenological response vary from person to person however the emotional response will differ from day to day, allowing multi-interpretations of a work. As our varying levels of consciousness in turn also are varying levels of focus.

James Steele
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