The encaustic and oil paintings, Between Still & Light and View Finder, are from a series depicting illusionistically painted drapery that substitutes for the body yet free of specific gender connotations. The drapery also exists as a barrier between interior and exterior, or a boundary where interiors meet exteriors. Drapery embodies substance but also spirit: the point where ideas, people, cultures, and emotions cross and sometimes merge. The drapery image interweaves the autobiographical with the historical, the past with the present, the self with another–exploring the metaphorical possibilities of material, process and content resulting in multivalent outcomes where symbols and metaphors continually evolve and recycle.
My experiments in digital media revise images from my drapery paintings into landscapes that play with the idea of mise en abyme, “placing into infinity” or “placing into the abyss,” to create a fractalized space of endless reflexivity. My digital prints mounted on panels extend and restructure compositional elements, images, and allusions from my drapery paintings that in turn invoke and reinvent Renaissance canonical painting. The geometric understructure in Renaissance paintings is the precursor of algorithmic construction in digital images. Drapery images in Renaissance paintings are the fluid compositional elements that shift through the geometric understructure. I seek to give my digital compositions a feel of fluctuating space, like the space of a moving piece of cloth—something in a mutable state. Digital technology makes it easy for me to create multiple if not endless reiterations of images and mirror images.
The complex threads of the industrial jacquard weavings add another visual and conceptual layer to process and product. The weavings, Mocking Desire and Song of Sorrow, are a form of drapery originating in digital technology that can translate, manipulate, and give multiple options for output. Mocking Desire refashions The Mocking of Christ by Fra Angelico. Song of Sorrow ironically recalls Piero della Francesca’s Madonna del Parto. Translating images, slowly painted by hand, into a potentially mass-produced product that simulates slow work made by hand is amusing, mesmerizing, troubling, and a symptom of our times. However, as artists we have always engaged in a reciprocal fabric of making. We tie and re-tie “strings” that simultaneously pull on the past, present, and future, on the artist and the viewer.
Kristy Deetz is a Professor in the Art Discipline at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her art has been exhibited from coast to coast and featured in Encaustic Art in the Twenty-First Century, Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide to Creating Fine Art with Wax and Full-Range Color Painting for the Beginner. She frequently serves as a visiting artist and has led many painting and drawing workshops at Haystack, Oxbow, Penland, Anderson Ranch, and Arrowmont. With Reni Gower, she co-curated the 4-year traveling exhibition FABRICation. Her awards include SECAC’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Graphis Design’s Silver Award, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Founders Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Recently she held an Erasmus Visiting Lectureship at the University of Kassel, Germany and attended a residency at The Burren College of Art in Ireland. Deetz holds an MFA from Ohio State University and a BFA from Bowling Green State University.
Visit http://kristydeetz.com/ for more work by Kristy Deetz.